Juventus legend, Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he will leave the club at the end of this season.
The 40-year-old goalkeeper made this known in a press conference this morning.
He said, “Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special.”
Buffon has played 639 games in Serie A, more than any other goalkeeper.
He has also announced his retirement from international duty, and hinted at a possible return to football as a coach.
Earlier, Juventus President, Andrea Agnelli, said, “Gianluigi Buffon has been with us all the way on this long rollercoaster ride of a journey, with its lows and then the return to Paradise. We will be forever grateful for his loyalty.
“What we now know is that Wojciech Szczęsny will be defending our goal next season, as Gianluigi Buffon and so many champions have done before him.”
“Gianluigi Buffon knows that he has my full support for the future. I wish for him to enjoy Saturday at Allianz Stadium. I’d just like to say a massive Thank You to Gigi.
Responding, Buffon said, “A big thank you to the president for his kind words. It’s a very emotional day for me and I’m here off the back of an extraordinary and wonderful journey, shared with people who have cared about me greatly. For that, I have always tried to do my best.
“Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special.
“I’m proud to have played to the best of my ability right up until now, with performances which befit both myself and this club. I make this decision in a calm and happy state of mind, which is not to be taken for granted for a sportsperson.
“If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here. My own philosophy is built around that of the club and I shall continue to live my life in that way, as that’s the only way I know to achieve results.
“The most exciting proposal for my career off the pitch has come from the president. Next week, after a few days to reflect, I shall make up my mind and follow my best instincts.
“I’m convinced that Juventus needs to plan for the future and, as someone who has spent many years as a player and several as club captain, I am the first to understand that.
“In Wojciech Szczęsny Juventus have an excellent goalkeeper, who also has 13 years less than me. Is this the best Bianconeri side of all time? I’m not sure, but certainly the most solid.
“If my future lies off the pitch, it will be necessary to undergo a training course in order to understand the right path to take and what role I could occupy.
“I can confirm that I’ll be staying away from the national team. There are several young keepers who need to gain experience to grow.
“If I decide to continue my on-pitch career, it will boil down to whether I still have the necessary drive and strength. It’s something that I’d need to think long and hard about. I don’t want to end up playing in lower leagues.
“I’m proud to have received many proposals for the future, but it’s in my character to launch myself into the next challenge with the utmost dedication.
“Juventus is a family for me and I am honoured to have been a part of it. The club is planning for a victorious future. If one day I am considered someone who can help the cause, Juventus will take priority for me.
“It had even crossed my mind to spend time away from football. These have been tough months for me, but in April I returned confident and happy. A six-month break might do me good.
“I want to enjoy Saturday just like all other title celebrations. I’ve seen plenty of them down the years, so all that I ask for is your respect and affection towards me on the day.
“To think that a winning cycle would finish on Saturday would be very serious indeed, but it won’t. The essential common denominator to this club’s success is the Agnelli family.
“Giorgio Chiellini and I have shared the Bianconeri dressing room for many years and he possesses all of the values required by a Juventus captain. I wish him all the best.
“I shall always be grateful to Juventus.”