Gianluigi Buffon has admitted he fears life after football as the Juventus captain looks set to bow out after an illustrious 23-year career.
The 40-year-old will clarify his future plans at a press conference at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Thursday amid speculation the veteran will hang up his gloves for good.
It seems an appropriate time for Buffon to retire, having previously stated he would walk away at the end of the season unless Juventus won the Champions League – a dream that was crushed in dramatic fashion at the quarter-final stage after he was sent off for a foul in the area and Real Madrid converted the resulting last-gasp penalty.
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Gianluigi Buffon has admitted he fears retirement as he looks set to clarify his future this week
The 40-year-old is expected to walk away after winning his seventh successive Serie A title
He also celebrated capturing Serie A and Coppa Italia glory last week – his seventh successive Scudetto and fourth consecutive Italian cup triumph.
Buffon has been offered the chance to keep his career alive in the Argentinian capital with Boca Juniors, but is expected to snub that opportunity and announce his retirement this week, despite admitting it would be challenging to adjust to a life without football.
‘I think that at my age you have to evaluate the situation a month, a week, at a time,’ he told Barcelona defender Gerard Pique in an interview with The Players’ Tribune.
He will go down as one of the most decorated Italian footballers, having won 22 domestic titles
The veteran goalkeeper also won his fourth successive Coppa Italia with Juventus this season
‘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.
Buffon will clarify his future plans at a press conference at the Allianz Stadium on Thursday
He planned to retire unless he won Champions League – Juve were eliminated by Real Madrid
‘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.
UEFA Cup winner x1
Serie A Title x9
Coppa Italia x5
Italian Super Cup x6
Italienischer Zweitligameister x1
Footballer of the Year x1
UEFA Best Player in Europe x1
National Honours with Italy:
World Cup x1
European Under-21 Championship: x1
‘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 will walk away from the game as one of the most decorated footballers in history, having won 22 trophies in Italy during his spells at boyhood club Parma and Juventus.
Despite previously having opportunities to test his skills in other areas of the world, Buffon turned them down and admits it is a slight regret when reflecting on his career.
‘I would have liked to [play elsewhere] because I like being around different people, other ways of life, of thinking. It sounded appealing. But deep down I feel very Italian. I know Italy has its limitations, but the world I know makes me smile and I like it.
‘As a figure in sports, I didn’t and still don’t want to leave Italy as long as I don’t have to.’
Buffon’s illustrious career began with boyhood club Parma before he moves to Juve in 2001
He admitted he has some regret about never playing abroad when reflecting on his career