Juventus and Italy legend Gigi Buffon admits he is “afraid” of retirement and is yet to decide what he’ll do when he hangs up his gloves.
Now 40 years old, he is expected to announce his retirement in a Press conference on Thursday morning.
“I think that at my age you have to evaluate the situation a month, a week, at a time,” he told Gerard Pique in a filmed interview for The Players Tribune.
“Because it is important for athletes like you and me, who have always played at the top, to be doing our best, struggling to be the best, to stay at the top. You have to be physically well, because you don’t want poor results for the sake of your pride.
“I’m Buffon, and that is who I want to be till the last minute. And when I’m not myself anymore, I’ll go. In a couple of months, I’ll meet with the President and we’ll evaluate the situation calmly.
“I’m very happy at the moment. I’m happy playing, because I love the atmosphere — I’m with my friends and I know I can help on the pitch. The day I can’t, no problem. I’ve had a great career anyway.
“I would be dishonest if I told you I’m not afraid. But deep down I feel calm and at peace because I know I’m naturally curious. And the day I stop playing football, I will find a way not to get bored and I’ll stay busy.
“After all, players like us, who have lived the game intensely, have to keep their minds occupied and have a reason to get up, something to fight for. I’ll never get bored or miss being in the public eye.
“The only problem is that my life has been organised for me for 23 years. Every morning you are given a timetable. But when you have 24 hours ahead of you with nothing to do, that could be a problem.”
Buffon hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll remain in the world of football and in what capacity.
“I’d like to take courses to become a director, a manager or a trainer, and then choose an option without rushing.
“I surely would have been a worse person (without football). I probably would have been a P.E. teacher, like my parents. I was heading in that direction.
“I’ve always liked sports and being around children, but football has made me a better person because I’ve always thought the group is more important. It is nice to be part of a group and share victories and defeats. It makes you less selfish. I find that truly beautiful. Being more altruistic and sharing with others is the best thing in life.
“Being popular has positives and negatives. Negative like when you do something wrong, and it is exaggerated on the TV, in the newspapers.
“Those consequences from that exaggeration make you think and say to yourself that you don’t deserve to suffer this outcome. ‘I must try not to provoke them, behave better and be a better person.’ These years of confusion with so many problems have helped me improve.”