Gianluigi Buffon will earn a record 136th cap in Turin on Tuesday, combining “my two great loves: Italy and Juventus.”
When the Czech Republic visit the Juventus Stadium, the goalkeeper has the chance to match Fabio Cannavaro as the player with most senior Azzurri caps.
“My rapport with the Nazionale runs very deep. Every time I pulled on the Azzurri jersey, I have felt a more mature person,” Buffon told Sky Sport Italia.
“Catching Cannavaro’s record means a lot of time has passed, as I’ve been in the Nazionale for 16 years, or 20 if you count the youth levels. I always tried to raise our tricolore flag as high as possible and I still want to win something.”
That included winning the 2006 World Cup and only a couple of months later dropping down into Serie B to stay with Juventus.
“I have had the fortune as a professional football player of staying in the same locker room for many years, 13 with Juventus and 16 with the Nazionale.
“They are both stories of great love, passion and affection that mapped out my life, where I met many wonderful people, experienced victories and defeats.
“It would be nice to win another World Cup. We do have the potential to do it, although clearly other nations have an even better chance.
“I would never give up on the Nazionale. I don’t see why I should, unless it is a decision by the Coach that I would accept without problems. I haven’t the courage to give up and it’d be a shame to do so if I was still competitive.”
Buffon was asked if he would trade Italy winning another World Cup if it meant he wasn’t the captain.
“That would be absolutely fine with me. Lifting the Cup or being captain is irrelevant. In fact, I sometimes feel a little embarrassed to be the one who picks it up.”