Legendary Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is edging closer to making a call on his retirement date.
Aged 40, the shot-stopper is widely considered to be one of the all-time greats in his position, but while there has been no call made on his future, officially at least, one is expected to come soon.
Prior to last week’s Champions League match with Tottenham, he spoke about his plans in cryptic fashion.
“I don’t have to reflect because I’ve already made them and they are shared by the president. However, we’re not going to talk about it now. It’s not the right time. We have so many things going on at Juve,” he said.
It is Goal’s understanding that the 175-capped Italy international is likelier to hang up his gloves at the end of the season than continue.
Buffon’s decision will be driven out of respect for Juve, who he has played for since 2001. If he chose to remain for another 12 months, it would pose questions over the future of back-up keeper Wojciech Szczesny, who is another that Buffon holds in the highest regard. Indeed, the keeper believes the Pole deserves the chance to replace him.
Meanwhile, his future with the national team is equally clouded.
“Buffon and I are in total harmony. He wanted to reflect upon some decision and we’ll talk again next week,” interim national team boss Luigi Di Biagio commented on the veteran’s future.
Di Biagio has been called into the preliminary squad for friendlies against England and Argentina, but though the keeper remains passionate about representing the Azzurri, he may choose to turn down the call on this occasion.
Buffon wants to go out on his own terms, however, and that could drive him to leave the Azzurri imminently, though again no decision has been made.
He has played professionally since making his Serie A debut in 1995, and has a slew of honours to his credit, the most notable of which is the 2006 World Cup, which he claimed with Italy.