Gianluigi Buffon has announced that Saturday’s home game against Hellas Verona will be his last for Juventus.
The veteran goalkeeper has been a mainstay in the Bianconeri back-line since 2001, but this weekend will see him make final appearance for the Serie A champions.
However, the 40-year-old mentioned in passing that he intends to keep playing on, wherever the fickle winds of fate may take him.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning, Buffon said:
Saturday, I will play a match and that is the only thing that’s certain.
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 for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Agnelli.
I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.
I am not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division.
I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live in that situation. I wouldn’t feel at ease.
Interestingly, Andrea Agnelli is the Juve chairman, leading some to speculate that Buffon might even be being primed to take a coaching and/or managerial role at the Old Lady next season.
In the same press conference, the stopper also semi-apologised to referee Michael Oliver, who you might recall he accused of having “a garbage bin for a heart” after getting sent off in the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid.
Buffon has since been slapped with a UEFA misconduct charge for his behaviour at the Bernabeu, and has now conceded that his tone was unacceptable.
I was sorry to have offended him because at the end of the day he is a human being who does a very difficult job.
If I’d seen him two days later, I’d have hugged him and apologised, but he could’ve been a bit calmer in such an important game.
That’s probably as close as Oliver is ever going to get to receiving a formal apology, so we suggest the official accepts it for what it is.