Published On: Tue, Mar 28th, 2017

Toldo: Italy are in safe hands after Buffon retires

Former Italy goalkeeper Francesco Toldo believes the Azzurri have a ready-made replacement for veteran Gianluigi Buffon, in the form of Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Buffon has been a stalwart of the national team since becoming first choice goalkeeper for the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign, but having turned 39 in January, next summer’s World Cup in Russia may well be his last major tournament.

However, Toldo is adamant that the emergence of a new crop of starlets, especially Donnarumma, ensures there will be a smooth transition when the Juventus star retires.

“I am a big supporter of the youngsters,” Told told Radio Anchio Lo Sport. “In fact, I even retired early to make way for younger talents.

“Donnarumma is bringing a lot to the role of goalkeeper and between him and Buffon, Italy are in safe hands. Buffon wants to win the trophies that he lacks, but his retirement is dependent on him only, and he will know when the time is right.

“I think Buffon gives advice to Donnarumma, but is also jealously guarding his position as first choice. If Donnarumma becomes first choice, it means Buffon has given it to him voluntarily.”

AC Milan teenager Donnarumma is not the only highly-rated goalkeeper in Italy, and former Inter and Fiorentina star Toldo ran the rule over Alex Meret, on loan at SPAL from Udinese.

“He’s a great guy. We have to hope that in the future there will be a strong rivalry between him and Donnarumma in the national team. He has strong values and is an excellent goalkeeper,” the 45-year-old concluded.

Toldo made 28 appearances for Italy between 1995 and 2004, and helped the Azzurri reach the final of Euro 2000.

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