Buffon Bids Arrivederci From Juventus

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(WFI) Ciao, Gianluigi.

Buffon departs from Turin (Wikipedia)
After 17 years as the almost eternal Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he is leaving the Turin Champions at the end of this season. 

The question is…what now?

Buffon at 40 years old still sees himself as useful on a pitch and has not decided whether to continue his career somewhere else or yes, retire.

“Until 15 days ago, I was sure to stop playing, but I received some exciting proposals, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch the most interesting was made to me by (Juventus) president (Andrea) Agnelli. Next week, after a few days of calm reflection, I will make a definite and certain decision,” explained Buffon in a press conference on Thursday.

According to the Italian press, Buffon has received offers from top European clubs including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

“I’d like to get out of my comfort zone and to test myself in more complicated situations that I don’t know,” said Buffon. “That’s a way of seeing what you’re made of and I’ve never been afraid of a challenge.”

Buffon leaves Juventus after leading his club to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph during the present campaign.

“To end this adventure with two new victories was important,” said Italy’s most capped player with 176 appearances

The former Parma goalkeeper still has one more game with Juve. His last appearance will be this Saturday against Hellas Verona on his 640th Serie A game. He is second for overall Italian league appearances behind former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini on 647.

After Buffon's last game, defender Giorgio Chiellini will take over the role of Juventus captain.

“I’m certainly not someone who thinks it’s right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth division. I am a competitive animal and I won’t be able to live or feel at ease in that situation.”

“My fear was to reach the end of the Juventus adventure as someone who people just put up with or a player who had lost it,” added the World Champion in 2006.

On playing again for his country, Buffon also confirmed he would not suit up for the Azzurri anymore, ruling out an expected international farewell on June 4 in a friendly against the Netherlands.

Buffon leaves Serie A after a season in his domestic success clashes with his international failures. Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in six decades and his final Champions League game ended in another European fiasco for Juventus. Last month, Buffon was ejected in a semifinal defeat against Real Madrid after harassing the referee who awarded a controversial last-minute penalty kick to the Spanish team that sent Juve home.

Buffon is now facing a UEFA suspension for his harsh criticism of English referee Michael Oliver after the game. On Thursday, Buffon apologized to Oliver though still standing by his belief that he shouldn't have been sent off.

“If I saw the referee again, I would give him a hug and say that he should have taken more time with that decision,” said Buffon.

“With the feelings, emotions and disappointment of the situation, I behaved in a way that was not usual for me. After that match, I went beyond the limits with the things I said about the referee and I apologize for that.”

European titles for his club have always eluded him and as Juventus lost three Champions League with Buffon in the goal.

Buffon leaves Italian football after his professional debut with Parma in 1996. At the now third division Parmesan Club, Buffon won the Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup and UEFA Cup. Juventus paid more than $60 million for him in 2001 and after that, his legend in Turin has become a reality. He holds the record for going 974 minutes in Serie A without conceding a goal.

Overall the veteran goalkeer has won 26 trophies with Juventus and in 300 games, almost half of his overall, Buffon has not conceded a goal.

Homepage photo: Wikimedia

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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