Mark Birighitti has experienced some amazing experiences over the last few months but nothing quite like what happened in Sydney on Monday.
The 23-year-old fringe Socceroo shot-stopper got to spend 40-minutes with his idol Gianluigi Buffon over a coffee at Juventus’ team hotel.
A Juve fan since a young age, the chance to meet Buffon was a dream for the young custodian and was organized through his Foxtel A-League All Stars skipper and Bianconeri legend Alessandro Del Piero.
‘‘It was amazing to spend time with Buffon,’’ Birighitti told the Newcastle Herald.
‘‘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’.”
It was quite a 24 hours for the Newcastle Jets gloveman.
He played the last 20-minutes of the All Stars 3-2 defeat to Juve on Sunday night and managed to swap shirts with both Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo post-game.
But it was the advice from the World Cup-winning Italian goal-keeper which he will cherish forever.
“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,” Birighitti said.
“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 will return to pre-season training with the Jets today (Tuesday) where he is battling with Ben Kennedy for the No.1 jersey.