The day a World Cup winner predicted the rise of Andy Carroll

By Lee Ryder on Jun 15, 10 07:06 PM

Gianluigi Buffon's World Cup may look like it's all over but the Italian A-list celeb will probably never forget the day he spoke to the Evening Chronicle three years ago.

Well maybe he has already but it was Buffon who provided me with probably the most bizarre interview I've ever had.

The Italian could well pass for a Sicilian mafia member and here he was standing as cool as cucumber having just played for the mighty Juventus at St James' Park with the ultimate opportunist moment for any journo to grab some elusive words.

He's just picked the ball out of his net from Andy Carroll with the Geordie striker scoring his first senior goal at St James' Park - even the fresh faced teenager didn't look like he'd realised what he'd just done in beating the World Cup winner.

Of course moments before Carroll scored, Buffon had almost broke the big striker's neck in an awful challenge that in non-friendly circumstances would certainly have resulted in a red card.

And so after, Buffon had addressed the Italian media, I took my chance.

As the 6ft 3in monster started to walk up the corridor in the media room, my hand came out and as time stood still, Buffon glared down at me with eyes that looked like he was staring down the barrel of a gun.

"Two minutes Gigi mate?"

The reply was a nod but a reluctant one, and so the question was: what do you make of Andy Carroll?

The response came in Italian, even though he understood the questions in English.

Some laughter from the Italian Press pack suggested he was taking the p*** but I'd be wrong - even if I did have to go down to an Italian restaurant on the quayside and get a waiter to translate!

A brave question in the circumstances, but to my disbelief, Buffon went on to sing the praises of Carroll and told me in Italian: "Carroll played like what we call in Italy a paintbrush striker, he was there to add the finishing touch.

"He played well on his own and although Newcastle were aiming for his head with some of their passes, he showed he can play with his feet too because he laid the ball off excellently to the supporting midfielders.

"He will be an asset because he can find the players around him in different ways and has already shown he has great awareness."

Perhaps Carroll has had to wait a little longer to show that awareness but Buffon's haven't been too far off the mark.


Fraser Scott said:

The Question is; will Carroll help Chelsea retain the Premiership. I believe he will give them that extra dimension that the were missing last season.

Eldorado Argentina said:

Hat-trick - and it's the best of the lot by a mile. A terrific counter-attack from Argentina ends with Lionel Messi laying a delightful chip over the defence to Sergio Aguero, whose clipped cross is headed home on the run by Gonzalo Higuain. A cracking move and, yes, a cracking substitution from Diego Maradona. - BBC Sport.

Hope you enjoyed it too Lee.

Relton said:

And they did it wearing the stripes too - baffling eh ?

EldoradoArgentina said:

Relton - and pale blue and white stripes too. Not baffling at all - just excellent skills, great effort, great man management and a great team spirit overcoming the colour disadavantage.

How many might Argentina have scored if they had been wearing RED - 7 like Portugal?

Note the pictures of the winners of yesterdays games - no stripes: Brazil yellow-blue, Portugal red-red,Spain red-blue, Chile red-blue.

What a pity New Zealand with all their effort and great team spirit were playing in all white. In RED They might have just scored that one extra goal needed.

As for England! Lampard and Terry always subconsciously looking for someone in BLUE to pass too and WR someone in RED.

Tomorrow England in RED perhaps. If so -watch out for the difference. But if so why aren't they training in RED not black?

As for team spirit - we must stop singing, or change, the National Anthem too. Half the team don't sing it. How can an anthem referring to God and to the Queen be unifying. At least 20 percent of the UK population don't believe in God and probably even a greater percentage would not mind if the monarchy was abolished.

Eldorado Argentina said:

England in RED. Bueno! Vamos England!

Eldorado Argentina said:

Felicitaciones England! Much much better in RED -so much better peripheral vision - many more one touch moves.

Now Germany v England in RED. Repeat of 66? - Vamos England.

And then Argentina?!!

Eldorado Argentina said:

Well done England! Much much better in RED -so much better peripheral vision - many more one touch moves.

Now Germany v England in RED. Repeat of 66? - Vamos England.

And then Argentina?!!

Eldorado Argentina said:

"What the Chronicle says yesterday the Mirror says today."

Quote " England will go into their dramatic World Cup showdown with Germany wearing their “lucky” all-red strip.

Steven Gerrard will lead his side out in the red tops, shorts and socks which the side wore in their nailbiting 1-0 win over Slovenia.

England have won four times out of five when they’ve played all in red. And the tops also stir up memories of England’s victory over West Germany in 1966."

"Lucky?" - might appear so but no! Better vision-cognition and psychology? -probably.

Let's hope the advantage gives England the edge.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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