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Sports

AFP
May 18, 2018

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Buffon calls time on 17-year Juventus career

TURIN, Italy: Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced on Thursday that he will leave the Turin giants after 17 years but did not as expected declare the end of his playing career.Buffon, 40, captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph this season.

“To end this adventure with two new victories was important,” the Italian told a press conference at the Allianz Stadium. Italy’s most capped player with 176 appearances, Buffon also confirmed he would not play again for the Azzurri, ruling out an expected international farewell on June 4 in a friendly against the Netherlands. The former Parma goalkeeper will make his 640th Serie A appearance against Verona on Saturday.

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini will take over the role of captain. Buffon said he would like to take more time to reflect on his future, which could be either on or off the pitch. “What am I going to do? Saturday, I’m playing a match and it’s the only thing that’s certain,” he continued.

“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.”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.“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.” It was a rollercoaster season for Buffon with Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in six decades.

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