Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon reveals he will leave the club at the end of the season.
The Italy and Juventus captain held a press conference on Thursday morning to reveal the inevitable decision that he will leave the club once the season is over.
The 40-year-old, who will go down as one of the greats, will bow out on Saturday afternoon when Juve host Verona at the Allianz Arena.
Buffon helped Juventus win a record-extending seventh straight Serie A on Sunday, four days after he led the club to a fourth straight Coppa Italia title.
It was expected that he would announce his retirement from the game, but the iconic figure may now prolong his stunning career elsewhere.
‘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,’ he said.
‘I’m 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.
‘Up until 15 days ago, it was certain and well-known that I would stop playing.
BUFFON’S CAREER IN NUMBERS
Buffon will end a 17-year spell with Juventus on Saturday. Here are some of the numbers from his extraordinary career.
He made his professional debut for Parma as a 17-year-old in a match against AC Milan in 1995.
Buffon has played 639 Serie A matches, a total beaten only by former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini, for Parma and then Juventus. He also made 37 appearances in Serie B after Juventus were relegated in 2006 over the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
He has kept 300 clean sheets in his 655 matches for Juventus in all competitions.
Buffon kept 10 consecutive clean sheets during the 2015-16 season, a Serie A record. He also holds the record for the most clean sheets in a Serie A season, 21, set in 2011-12 and 2015-16.
He has won nine Serie A titles, all with Juventus, the only player to do so. A further two Serie A titles were revoked because of Juventus’ involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, although the club itself refuses to recognise that ruling.
He has also won five Coppa Italia titles, one with Parma and four with Juventus, and one UEFA Cup title with Parma. The Champions League is the only major club title he has never won.
He has made a record 176 appearances for Italy, winning the World Cup in 2006. He has kept 77 clean sheets.
Buffon has taken part in five World Cups, a record he shares alongside with Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lotthar Matthaus, although he did not play in the first of those in 1998. The 2018 Russia World Cup would have been his sixth if Italy had qualified.
He has also taken part in the last four European Championship tournaments and was runner-up in 2012