Football: PSG chief Al-Khelaifi dispels Buffon rumours, assuring Areola that he'll stay No. 1

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reaffirmed that current No. 1 goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (pictured) would not be replaced by Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon.
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reaffirmed that current No. 1 goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (pictured) would not be replaced by Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has poured water on suggestions that Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon could step in to replace the French club's No. 1 goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola.

Buffon, 40, played his final game for the Italian giants in a 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday, capping a 17-year career in Turin that harvested seven consecutive Serie A titles.

Buffon's contract will expire in a matter of weeks, but asked if the French capital could be the emblematic Italian's next destination, Al-Khelaifi told L'Equipe sports daily on Sunday: "We have Areola, he's our No. 1."

When then asked if that would also be the case next season, Al-Khelaifi replied: "Yes, for sure." He added: "He (Buffon) is a fantastic goalkeeper, he's very charismatic and is a true gentleman. I'm sure all the clubs want him."

Frenchman Areola underlined his feelings about the situation when he told Le Parisien newspaper Saturday he wanted to "remain No. 1" at PSG and would leave the club if that were not to be the case next season.

"Because if I'm not the No. 1 any more, it would mean the season I've just finished has all counted for nothing," said the 25-year-old Areola, whose own deal ends in June 2019.

PSG, who regained the French league title this month, will be taken over by coach Thomas Tuchel next season. He succeeds Spaniard Unai Emery.