Clubs, French Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain, Story


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Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel said Alphonse Areola will be his starting goalkeeper over Gianluigi Buffon.

Areola and Buffon have split playing time thus far as Tuchel prepares Areola for the Champions League with Buffon suspended for the first three group-stage matches.

Tuchel said in an interview with RMC Sport’s “Breaking Sport” programme that developing academy graduates such as Areola is important.

“The decision is not final, but I told Alphonse that, in my opinion, he is in pole position to be No. 1,” Tuchel said. “Alphonse comes from the youth academy, PSG is everything for him and he absolutely wants to prove himself here. This situation must be respected and capitalised on. We must have players like this who have PSG in their soul and embody the club.

“With Gianluigi, a legend and Alphonse’s idol, it is different. Both have strong personalities. We need to fine-tune things. Gigi knows that, Alphonse knows that, and if we can find a way to be generous with both, I am sure that we will be rewarded. I am certain that Alphonse will be good thanks to Gigi and not despite him.”

Tuchel said Buffon has impressed him with his vocal support of his teammates, notably the way the former Juventus keeper uses his experience.

“Gigi is not just a substitute,” Tuchel said. “Each day, he is a player with a big influence on the team. For example, he played brilliantly against Guingamp, saving us in the second half. He has been on the bench [against Angers and Nimes] because Alphonse needs minutes.

“Gigi would have the right to cross his arms and watch, but he cannot stand that. He is frenetic. Gigi is there all the time, communicating with the players and trying to help me. You understand why he has reached the top and has had such a career.”

Once Buffon has served his Champions League ban, Tuchel will be able to make a clear choice between the two.

However, with Areola in line to start the first three Champions League matches, Buffon is likely to feature heavily in PSG’s domestic cup games with Kevin Trapp on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Buffon could start at home against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Friday as Areola, who played both UEFA Nations League matches with France during the international break, is likely to face Liverpool on Sept. 18.

Areola, like midfielder Adrien Rabiot, is into the final 12 months of his contract and is in talks over an extension.



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