Thomas Tuchel confirms Gianluigi Buffon’s return to PSG’s starting line-up

Gianluigi Buffon will start in Paris St Germain’s Ligue 1 table-topping clash with Lille on Friday and make his return to the Champions League next week.

Buffon was banned for three European matches by UEFA in June for his comments about referee Michael Oliver following former club Juventus’ Champions League defeat by Real Madrid.

The 40-year-old said Oliver had “a bag of rubbish” rather than a heart after the English official awarded Real a decisive stoppage-time penalty at the Bernabeu.

Buffon has missed three matches with Alphonse Areola taking the gloves, but PSG manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed Buffon would play both against Lille at the Parc des Princes and in Napoli on Tuesday.

“Buffon has a very important role for the group, to share his experiences,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“He will be in goal tomorrow and against Napoli.”

Tuchel dropped Kylian Mbappe and Adrien Rabiot to the bench at Marseille on Sunday after the pair had turned up late for a pre-match team meeting.

Mbappe opened the scoring within moments of coming on as a second-half substitute, and the France striker is expected to return to the starting line-up after the 2-0 victory in Le Classique.

“As I said, I do not like doing this type of thing (punish Rabiot and Mbappe),” Tuchel said.

“But sometimes it’s necessary and then we have to continue and look forward. It is normal that you have to adjust the group.

“Now it’s over. Our attention is on Lille. We know Lille have many qualities, they are very dangerous.

“Against Lille it will be necessary to put in place a good structure to control their counter-attacks.”

PSG are chasing a 12th straight victory and a new record for the top five European leagues at the start of a season.

Edinson Cavani remains a doubt after missing the Marseille win, with Tuchel saying he will wait to see how the Uruguay striker trains before making a decision on team selection.

Second-placed Lille are already peering into the distance with an eight-point gap between themselves and PSG.

But Lille head to Paris on the back of four consecutive league wins and are expected to be unchanged with no injury concerns.

“It is better to go to there in our current situation,” Lille manager Christophe Galtier said at his pre-match press conference.

“We have nothing to lose, everything to gain. Currently we are second with a good defence and a good attack.

“Why would you change that? The team will rely on its strengths and qualities against PSG.

“Before the game, I’ll tell my players to play and have fun.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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