Cap­tain Buf­fon leav­ing Ju­ven­tus but not re­tir­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

JU­VEN­TUS CAP­TAIN Gian­luigi Buf­fon will play his last match for the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons to­mor­row and has put off re­tire­ment to con­sider of­fers to play over­seas.

Buf­fon, who is widely re­garded as one of the best goal­keep­ers of all time, was ex­pected to an­nounce his re­tire­ment at a news con­fer­ence in Turin yes­ter­day.

In­stead, while the 40-year-old Buf­fon says the Serie A match against Hel­las Verona to­mor­row will be his last for Ju­ven­tus, he has re­ceived “ex­cit­ing” of­fers that have changed his mind about hang­ing up his gloves.

“(On) Satur­day, I will play a match, and that is the only thing that’s cer­tain,” said Buf­fon, who teared up at the start of the con­fer­ence af­ter an emo­tional trib­ute from Ju­ven­tus pres­i­dent An­drea Agnelli.

“Un­til about two weeks ago, I was cer­tain I would stop play­ing. Now, of­fers have ar­rived that are ex­cit­ing on and off the pitch, and the most im­por­tant was pro­posed to me by Agnelli.

“I’ll let these three days pass, and then I will make a de­fin­i­tive de­ci­sion in com­plete calm and which will be one that calls to my per­son­al­ity and my na­ture.”

Buf­fon made his de­but with Parma in 1995, and has been at Ju­ven­tus since 2001. He has ruled out mov­ing to an­other Ital­ian club or drop­ping down the di­vi­sions.

Buf­fon has been linked with a move to Liver­pool, which could offer the for­mer Italy cap­tain the chance to win the Cham­pi­ons League – one of the few tro­phies miss­ing from his glit­ter­ing col­lec­tion, which in­cludes the 2006 World Cup. He has ap­peared in three Cham­pi­ons League fi­nals and lost them all.

Buf­fon helped Ju­ven­tus win a record-extending sev­enth straight Serie A on Sun­day, four days af­ter he led the Bian­coneri to a fourth straight Ital­ian Cup tro­phy.

It was the ninth Serie A ti­tle he won with Ju­ven­tus. Two oth­ers were stripped from the club due to the Cal­ciopoli scan­dal. Also as pun­ish­ment, Ju­ven­tus were rel­e­gated to Serie B, but Buf­fon stayed and helped them win the sec­ond divi­sion and bounce straight back up.

The cap­tain’s arm­band, which Buf­fon has worn since Alessan­dro Del Piero’s de­par­ture in 2012, will be handed to an­other vet­eran, de­fender Gior­gio Chiellini. Wo­j­ciech Szczesny will be­come Juve’s first-choice goal­keeper from next sea­son.


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