Football: Prandelli defends Buffon as 'keeper splits from wife

Football: Prandelli defends Buffon as 'keeper splits from wife

FLORENCE, Italy - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he would not get caught up in his players' private affairs Tuesday as goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced his separation amid reports of an affair.

Buffon announced on Tuesday he had split from his wife, Czech model Alena Seredova, the mother of the couple's two sons, amid rumours this week he has been having an affair with a journalist from an Italian television station.

The 36-year-old's announcement came the same day Italy began a pre-World Cup training camp designed to allow Prandelli to trim his provisional 30-man squad to a final 23 for Brazil.

Prandelli told journalists at the team's Coverciano training camp in Florence: "I don't make any comment on the private affairs of my players.

"I think the fact he has made this announcement shows he is mentally prepared for the challenge that lies ahead."

Buffon, who recently won the Italian title with club side Juventus, has recently been linked to Sky television journalist Ilaria D'Amico.

One gossip magazine published pictures, allegedly of the couple, leaving an apartment in Milan last weekend. Buffon married his wife in 2011.

Buffon on Tuesday announced in an interview with Sky: "It has only been a short while that we have separated. Alena has had ample opportunity to create problems for me.

"In what has been a delicate time for both of us, she has instead reacted with dignity and put the welfare of our children first."

Buffon's wife and their children were present at Juventus Stadium on Sunday as the Turin giants celebrated their 30th Serie A title.

And the 36-year-old 'keeper, who with 139 appearances is Italy's record caps holder, said he would welcome his family to Brazil as Prandelli allows the partners and family of players to be present for the first time in an Italian World Cup campaign.

Buffon added: "She (Seredova) brought the kids to the stadium last week. It would make me happy if she brought them to Brazil.

"We can't forget, our first priority is to love and protect our children and make sure they grow up in a stable environment, whether our paths diverge or not.

"You can only agree to principles like these with people who can truly understand their importance, and she is one of those people."

Italy will remain at Coverciano until May 29, after which Prandelli is set to announce his final, 23-man squad for Brazil before the FIFA deadline of June 2.

Italy will play the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on May 31 and then host Luxembourg on June 4.

Italy, who won the last of their four World Cup titles in Germany in 2006, open their Group D campaign away to England in Manaus before further group matches against Costa Rica and Uruguay.

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