Captain Gianluigi Buffon leaving Juventus but not retiring

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File Photo: Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon during Serie A match between Juventus and Inter Milan, at the San Siro, Milan, Italy, on April 28, 2018. Photo: Reuters

TURIN: Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon is leaving the Italian champion and considering playing elsewhere.

Buffon, who is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, was expected to announce his retirement at a news conference with Juventus president Andrea Agnelli at Allianz Stadium on Thursday.

Instead, while the 40-year-old Buffon says the Serie A match against Hellas Verona on Saturday will be his last for Juventus, he has received offers to play elsewhere which have changed his mind about retiring.

“(On) Saturday I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain,” Buffon said.

“Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli.

“I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.”

Buffon, who made his debut with Parma in 1995, has been at Juventus since 2001 and he has ruled out moving to another Italian club or dropping down the divisions.

“I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division,” Buffon added. “I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.”

Buffon retired from the national team in November when Italy lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden but recently returned for friendlies. He was an integral member of the Italy squad that won the 2006 World Cup.

Buffon could bid the national team goodbye for good in a friendly on June 4 against the Netherlands at Allianz Stadium.

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Written by Siddhartha Pokharel
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