GET-TOGETHER: Keepers Gigi Buffon and Mark Birighitti after Sunday’s match.IT was a cup of coffee Mark Birighitti will cherish forever.
The advice the Jets goalkeeper received from Juventus shot-stopper Gigi Buffon will be equally treasured.
Birighitti spent 40 minutes with his idol at the Italian team’s Sydney hotel on Monday.
The previous night, the 23-year-old had played the final 20 minutes for the A-League All Stars in a credible 3-2 loss to the Serie-A champions.
After exchanging shirts with Buffon and Andrea Pirlo post-game, Birighitti’s All Stars teammate and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero arranged a get-together for the keepers.
‘‘It was amazing to spend time with Buffon,’’ Birighitti said.
‘‘We had a coffee and he told me about his experiences and gave me some advice, which was amazing.
‘‘He said, ‘No matter where you play, no matter what the game is, if you have things on your mind, if there is stuff happening overseas, always focus on the present moment. Focus on the job at hand and don’t get too far ahead of yourself’.
‘‘He knew I was at the Newcastle Jets and had the experience of going to the World Cup and was close to signing in Germany.
‘‘He said, ‘Now you are at Newcastle, you focus on Newcastle. That is your team and make sure you perform week-in, week-out for them. Europe will always be there. If you perform well at your club, you will get opportunities to go overseas. If you don’t perform at your club, it is a different story’.
‘‘We spoke about a range of things but that was the thing that stuck with me.
‘‘Getting advice off him – he has played at the highest level, is a world champion and has done everything in world football.
‘‘To hear that from his mouth was music to my ears.’’
Birighitti returns to the Jets and the reality of a preseason training today.
Ben Kennedy finished last season as the Jets’ first-choice gloveman and has been in-goal for the opening three trials.
‘‘I can’t wait to get back now and knuckle down to training,’’ Birighitti said.
‘‘I have had an amazing few months – going to the World Cup and then getting into the All Star team.
‘‘It is only going to make me hungrier for the season to start.
‘‘BK is a good goalkeeper.
‘‘It is up to me now. I just want to focus on my own game and make sure I perform day-in day-out at training.
‘‘As Buffon said, I have to focus on the present and not get too far ahead of myself.’’
Against Juventus, the score was locked at 1-1 when Birighitti replaced Eugene Galekovic.
Western Sydney striker Tomi Juric regained the lead for the All Stars with a thumping shot but late goals to Paul Pogba and Simone Pepe sealed the win for the Italians.
Both strikes were sublime and gave Birighitti little hope of saving them.
‘‘Their accuracy rate is so high,’’ Birighitti said.
‘‘When world-class players get an opportunity, they execute them. You give them a little sniff and they take it. You make a mistake and they punish.
‘‘In saying that, we gave it a real good crack.
‘‘We kept the ball well. That was one thing [coach] Josep Gombau was big on.
‘‘He wanted us to try and play football, play with freedom and enjoy the experience.’’