Italy Legend Buffon Announces Juventus Departure
Italy Legend Gianluigi Buffon Announces Juventus Departure
Italy international and Juventus stalwart Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he will be leaving the Turin club after 17 years.
With Buffon possibly hanging up his boots after his final Juventus game, click through the gallery above to see some other top players who retired from the beautiful game over the past two years.
The 40-year-old goalkeeper, who will make his 640th appearance in Serie A against Hellas Verona on Saturday, captained the Bianconeri to their seventh straight league title this season, as well as their fourth consecutive Coppa Italia crown.
At a press conference in Turin, Buffon thanked the club for everything, and revealed that he would be making his final decision about his playing future in the coming days.
"A big thank you to the president for his kind words. It is a very emotional day for me, and I am here off the back of an extraordinary and wonderful journey, shared with people who have cared about me greatly. For that, I have always tried to do my best," Buffon said, according to Juventus' official Twitter account.
"Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special.
"I am proud to have played to the best of my ability right up until now, with performances which befit both myself and this club. I make this decision in a calm and happy state of mind, which is not to be taken for granted for a sportsperson.
"If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here. My own philosophy is built around that of the club and I shall continue to live my life in that way, as that's the only way I know to achieve results.
"The most exciting proposal for my career off the pitch has come from the president. Next week, after a few days to reflect, I shall make up my mind and follow my best instincts.
"I'm convinced that Juventus needs to plan for the future and, as someone who has spent many years as a player and several as club captain, I am the first to understand that.
"In Wojciech Szczesny, Juventus have an excellent goalkeeper, who also has 13 years less than me. Is this the best Bianconeri side of all time? I am not sure, but certainly the most solid.
"I can confirm that I will be staying away from the national team. Several young keepers need to gain experience to grow.
"If I decide to continue my on-pitch career, it will boil down to whether I still have the necessary drive and strength. It is something that I would need to think long and hard about. I do not want to end up playing in lower leagues.
"I am proud to have received many proposals for the future, but it is in my character to launch myself into the next challenge with the utmost dedication."
Since joining Juventus from Parma in 2001, Buffon has won nine Serie A titles, five Italian Super Cups and four Italian Cups with the Bianconeri.
The goalkeeper was named UEFA Best Player in Europe in 2003, and lifted the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006, but will sadly leave the game without a UEFA Champions League medal.
Do you think Buffon could have played for a few more seasons still? Have your say in the comments section below.