NEWS
Tuesday January 2 2018
Buffon: ‘Retirement? We’ll see…’

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon says there are “many assessments to be made” before he decides whether or not to retire.

The Italian international turns 40 later this month, and has previously stated his intention to hang up his gloves at the end of the season.

However, there have been hints that the goalkeeper could play on beyond the end of the current campaign, and he was asked in an interview whether he still wants to play.

“No footballer wants to stop, but no,” Buffon replied, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I’m very happy because I’ve reached an important point in my life and I’m calm. To face such a crucial juncture with this inner harmony is what matters most, and it’s really beautiful.

“I know how the pitch works, I could say that at 60 I’ll be like I am now. But then there are many assessments to be made, not least the fact I’m lucky enough to be in a club where I’m appreciated and where I have a very strong bond with everyone, from the President down.

“I feel totally open to the project.

“The President [Andrea Agnelli] has been extraordinary with me, for five years he’s repeated: ‘at some point in the season, come and tell me if you want to continue or not’.

“That’s what I’ll do this time too.

“At a certain point you have to understand which kind of role will be most helpful to the cause, I don’t want to become a burden.

“Many people have told me: ‘you exaggerated with your statements in the national team’, but as a 40-year-old man I must have a sense of responsibility.

“Since I’m not the last to arrive and I know I can be cumbersome, I preferred to step aside.

“I’ll never be a burden, but I’ll always be there in any capacity and any role for those who gave me so much, whether that’s Juve or the national team.

“Will I play on if Juventus win the Champions League? That’s the only certainty.”

Buffon's retirement has been compared with basketball legend Kobe Bryant, but the veteran doesn't see it that way.

"I feel the affection and it's gratifying, but I wouldn't be able to say goodbye in the way he did.

"Even celebrating my birthday bothers me, because I know beforehand I'll be the centre of attention and I don't like that.

"If being the centre of attention is something that happens because of events I can bear it well and make a good impression, but if it's constructed then it kills me, I live on emotions."