ATLANTA — Wojciech Szczesny says that he’s aware of the responsibility bestowed upon him by inheriting Gianluigi Buffon’s No. 1 shirt at Juventus.
The 28-year-old is slated to become the Bianconeri‘s starting goalkeeper this season following Buffon’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain over the summer. The former Italy international spent 17 seasons in Turin before joining the Parisian club on a free transfer.
And after a season as Buffon’s understudy, Szczesny will now be thrust into the spotlight. Speaking ahead of Juve’s participation in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), he told media that he’s cognizant of the boots he has to fill.
“I’ve had a great relationship with Gigi, and I know it’s a heavy shirt to wear,” he said. “I just want to represent myself and the club in the best way possible.
“I have to prepare myself well because I know the importance of the job that I have. So I have to be at my very best.”
Szczesny and Juventus trained at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday morning in preparation of their clash against the MLS All-Stars.
The home of Atlanta United is shared with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons; it’s fully enclosed and uses a synthetic surface. Szczesny said that the closed nature of the stadium won’t be foreign to him, as the Warsaw National Stadium in his native Poland is the same, but he did say the artificial turf would be something of an adjustment for Juventus.
“We’re not used to [the turf] because we never play on a synthetic field, but the field is going to be the same for both teams,” Szczesny said. “It’s a little bit slower so it changes a little bit, but as I said, the field is the same for both teams so we can’t complain about that.”
Juventus teammate Federico Bernardeschi agreed, and added that the Italian side “can adapt”.
The 24-year-old spoke glowingly of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, despite its roots in American football.
“It is really a very beautiful stadium,” Bernardeschi said. “I think it’s one of the best in the world, one of the most beautiful, even though it was not made for soccer.”