Antonio Conte will lead the charge of English clubs in next season’s Champions League, according to the goalkeeper who knows him best.
In Conte’s first season, Chelsea won their fifth Premier League title in 12 years – and Gianluigi Buffon expects his former Juventus and Italy coach to export his genius from Stamford Bridge to Europe.
Buffon, who won three consecutive Serie A titles with the Old Lady of Turin under Conte, said: “He can make Chelsea strong in Europe – that is for sure.
“They already have players like Hazard who, for me, is already one of the top five players in the world, and this summer I’m sure they will bring in more quality.
“Much has been spoken about how passionate and fiery Conte can be, which is true, but the reality is he gets so much from his players because he gives so much.
“He will never switch off from the game. Even now, I’m sure he is lying on a beach with his family but he will be thinking about next season, trying to sign new players, how the team can improve. He gives everything.
“Next season, under Conte, I expect that Chelsea will be one of the big challenges in the Champions League. Then coaches like Pep (Guardiola) and (Jose) Mourinho, who have had a lot of success in Europe, will also be strong. It will be their second season with their clubs and they can also challenge.”
In his career spanning more than 1,000 games for club and country, the European Cup remains the only major trophy to elude Buffon.