Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Buffon still undecided on retirement as goalkeeper turns 40

SoccerNews in Serie A 29 Jan 2018

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Gianluigi Buffon has still not decided whether he will retire at the end of the season or seek to play on for another year and target Paolo Maldini’s Serie A appearance record.

The Juventus goalkeeper returned from injury for Saturday’s 2-0 win at Chievo – although he was named on the bench – and celebrated his 40th birthday on Sunday.

Buffon has already retired from international football after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, surprisingly losing a tight play-off 1-0 on aggregate against Sweden.

The veteran has previously indicated he will play another season if Juventus win the Champions League, a title he is yet to win in his career, so he can experience the Club World Cup.

Massimiliano Allegri said Buffon would return to the Juventus team as soon as he was fit, but the goalkeeper was benched against Chievo with Wojciech Szczesny selected instead.

Buffon cannot pass Maldini’s landmark of 647 Serie A appearances even if he features in every remaining league game this season, but the Italian insists chasing records will not influence his decision over retirement.

“The future is the least of my problems,” Buffon told Rai. “I will meet Andrea Agnelli shortly and I want, above all, to make the right choice.

“The president is someone who really cares about me so I’m sure with his help we will make the right decision for someone of my age, and for my possible role in the future.

“I don’t think you should force things, you should be happy with what you have got. I have plenty of records and if that one remains with Paolo, I would be happy as he deserves it.

“It would be nice to take it, but I think it’s nice to leave it to a professional and a person like him who deserves it.”

Buffon has started just two Serie A matches since October due to injury, but Szczesny has thrived in his absence, keeping 11 clean sheets in 16 appearances in all competitions.

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