Italy Great Gianluigi Buffon to Leave Juventus

Italy goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he will play his final game for Juventus on Saturday after 17 years with the club.

Buffon, 40, said he changed his mind about retiring 15 days ago and has received job offers on and off the pitch.

The World Cup winner will lift his ninth Serie A title against Hellas Verona at the Allianz Stadium this weekend, to bring the curtain down on a glittering spell in Turin.

“Next week, after two or three days of reflection and serenity, I will take my decision,” he said on his future.

Buffon, who is facing a Uefa ban for his scathing criticism of English referee Michael Oliver, after the Champions League quarter-final defeat by Real Madrid last month, said he was “sorry for offending the referee”.

“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 apologise for that.”

Buffon, who joined Juventus from Parma in a world record deal for a goalkeeper in 2001, has ruled out joining another Italian club.

“Fifteen days ago, I was already an ex-player. Now I’m not sure any more. Proposals have arrived for some new challenges on and off the pitch. The most important off the pitch is from Juventus.”

Buffon has captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Coppa Italia triumph this season.

Former Arsenal keeper, Wojciech Szczesny, who moved to Turin in 2017, will succeed Buffon in goal next season.

Italy’s most capped player with 176 appearances, Buffon retired from national team duty after they failed to qualify for the World Cup in November, though he made a brief return in a friendly against Argentina in March.

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