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Buffon: Premier League hinders England team

ESPN staff
June 30, 2012 « Giggs gutted by Beckham snub | Chartbeat test »
Gianluigi Buffon feels the quality of the Premier League hinders the national side © Getty Images
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Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has claimed the English Premier League is "no longer very faithful'' to the national team after they failed once again to pass the quarter-final stage.

Italy beat England on penalties and now prepare to face Spain in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev on Sunday and Buffon, who is looking to add another major international tournament to the World Cup in won in 2006, feels the answer lies in the Premier League's desire to attract the best players in the world.

The veteran goalkeeper is sure that the Premier League is the best in terms of quality, but does not feel that is the best way forward for the national side.

"Having a competitive league doesn't necessarily mean having competitive players,'' he said. "For a number of years now, the English league has had the best football and is the best league in terms of quality.

"The money that's in the game means they can go and buy anyone from all over Europe or the world. This can happen in Spain and Italy as well as England but the league in England is no longer very faithful to what the national side needs.

"With this footballing globalisation, it's very difficult. You struggle to have players from your own country playing in the top league.''

England have now gone out of six competitions on penalties, including three at the quarter-final stage. Yet Buffon does not write the Three Lions off completely.

"The England national side has its own strengths and they're a lot more physical than other sides,'' he added. "But England aren't very lucky. They've lost on penalties in the last five or six times, so the margins between winning and losing are very thin indeed.''

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