Paris St-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes Qatar is on the ‘right path’ as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Italian legend is on his third visit to Qatar and lauded the rapid growth of the country as it prepares to host football’s showpiece tournament in four years’ time.
“It’s my third visit to Qatar. It has great facilities especially at Aspire Academy. The country is growing very fast and very rapidly and I think the country is on right path to get ready to host the World Cup in four years’ time,” said Buffon, who is in Doha for PSG’s annual winter training camp.
Buffon, 40, spent 17 years at Juventus, playing 656 times and winning nine Serie A titles, before his 2018 move to French champions PSG.
When asked of his chances of playing at the 2022 World Cup, the former Italy goalkeeper, who retired from international duty last year, did not completely rule out his participation as a player but said he could be involved in a ‘different role’.
“I will be 41 soon and it’s a bit difficult to make it to the World Cup as it is still four years away but everything is possible. I may take part in a different role if not as a goalkeeper,” he said.
PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, who won the World Cup in Russia last year with France, was hopeful of playing at the Qatar World Cup.
“This is my second time here and I have discovered quite a few things here, and hopefully will come back to play the World Cup in four years,” the 20-year-old sensation said.
The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to take place in November and December. This will mark the first time that the tournament is being held outside of the summer months of May, June and July.
Mbappe said it did not make much difference when the World Cup will be played. “Whether the World Cup is played is in winter or summer, the competition will be tough and the dates will not make much of a difference,” he said.
PSG's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani too was impressed with Qatar’s sporting infrastructure and said the country is on the right direction.
“We are coming to Qatar every year for training and I think it’s a phenomenal country. It’s just fantastic and it’s developing very, very quickly. I think it’s a country for the future, the sporting infrastructure in the country is just exceptional. They will host a successful World Cup,” Cavani said.
Today, PSG fans in Qatar will be given a unique chance to get close to their heroes, with an open training session to be held from 5pm at the Khalifa International Stadium, one of the 2022 FIFA World Cup venues.
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