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April 29, 2017

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Goalkeeper Buffon says Juventus are clear title favorites

MILAN -- Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says he will offer his compliments to Napoli if the southern club maintain their early season form and go on to win this season's scudetto.

But just over a week before their top-of-the-table clash, the Juve captain believes his side remain clear favorites for a second successive Serie A title.

"Juventus are strong," Buffon said on the fringes of an Italy training camp ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier in Armenia.

"If Napoli were to win the scudetto then they would have my compliments. But I think my side are the clear favorites."

Leaders Juventus and Napoli are the only two unbeaten teams in Serie A after seven games and with 19 points apiece hold a four-point lead on both Lazio and fourth-placed Inter.

The sides clash in Turin in a little over 10 days time, when Lazio also play host to Milan.

But despite the ongoing demands of the Champions League, Buffon believes Juventus will remain the title favorites irrespective of the result of their October 20 clash in Turin.

"This match won't be decisive, we're still at the start of the season," he added. "It's true that they (Napoli) don't have the Champions League, as opposed to us, but we remain the (title) favorites."

Italian Cup holders Napoli last won the title in 1990, thanks in part to the 16 league goals scored by Argentine great Diego Maradona, and this season are flying thanks to the goalscoring talents of Uruguayan Edinson Cavani.

Juventus won their 28th scudetto in 2012, their first in nine years although they were stripped of the titles they won in 2005 and 2006 due to their role in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

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