Friday, May 25, 2018

Buffon to decide future next week as Juventus great seeks new challenge

SoccerNews in Serie A 17 May 2018

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Gianluigi Buffon will decide his future next week after receiving a number of “very interesting” offers from outside Juventus.

The 40-year-old confirmed on Thursday that this weekend’s clash with Verona will be his last for the Serie A champions.

Juve president Andrea Agnelli says Buffon has been offered a non-playing role at Allianz Stadium, while the goalkeeper has received enquiries from clubs who want to sign him as a player.

Buffon intends to wait to make his final decision until he is no longer “overwhelmed by emotions”, having decided to call time on a 17-year spell in Turin.

“I’ve received some offers, some of them very interesting, both to go on playing and outside the pitch. But next week, without being overwhelmed by emotions, as I am now, I will be able to make the best decision,” he told a news conference.

“Next week, I’ll take the final decision whether to keep playing or not. Whatever the decision will be, there will be full harmony with Juventus. They are a big club and I really agree they need to plan their future without me.

“I’m leaving to get out of my comfort zone and maybe try some new challenges, to test myself in situations I don’t know. It’s a way of seeing what you’re made of and I have never been afraid of a challenge. Quite the opposite.

“There’s no point now betting on where I could go. If I were to continue, I’d want to challenge for big honours.”

Buffon went on to pay tribute to Juve for nurturing his talent following his €53.5million move from Parma in 2001, which remains a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

“I want to thank the Juventus family,” he said. “In 2001, they signed an extraordinary talent – I’m probably biased in saying that – but I have to say that, if this talent was transformed into a champion, it’s because Juve made sure it happened.

“They allowed me to take another step forwards in conviction, mentality and performance. I believe that, if I am still here at the age of 40, performing to this level, it is thanks to Juventus, whose approach to work is totally different to everyone else in the world.

“I made this philosophy my own too and am sure I’ll use it in future, in my life after football, as it’s the only way I know to reach results and to get there with the joy of having worked hard, driven yourself to the limit and given your all.

“Aside from trophies, that is the greatest gift I have received from Juventus and I will forever be grateful.”

Agnelli confirmed Wojciech Szczesny will likely be Juve’s new number one next season and Buffon thinks the Poland international has benefited from the experience in the Allianz Stadium dressing room.

“He is a boy who is very smart,” added Buffon. “From the very first day, apart from his technical qualities, he was curious about the dynamic of the Juve dressing room.

“He’s been surrounded by a lot of positive examples to help him grow as a Juventus player.”

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