Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has laid down a marker for his Juventus teammates to win the Champions League this season or else he would be hanging his gloves after next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of his generation, Buffon, 39, has declared that the only thing that would keep him from retiring after the World Cup would be winning European club football’s biggest prize.
In an interview with Sky Italia, Buffon has promised to call it a day after Italy’s World Cup campaign unless he and Juve can win the Champions League after three unsuccessful finals.
‘There’s no margin (to change mind) because I’m quite convinced of the choices I’ve made,’ Buffon said.
‘This is my last season and I’m pretty sure of the choices I make. One or two more years wouldn’t add or take away from what I’ve already achieved.
‘The only way would be to win the Champions League. At that point, to try to win the Club World Cup, maybe Wojciech Szczesny could play alternate games.
‘But I think with a goalkeeper like him behind it is normal that next year I’ll stand aside.’
Juve lost last season’s final to Real Madrid 4-1 in Cardiff, the third time Buffon has tasted defeat at the competition’s final hurdle, leaving him wanting more from what is likely to be his final season.
‘I think last year was outstanding for me and for the team. It was not enough to win in Europe and I hope that this year we can go one better, both with Juventus and the national team,’ he told Mediaset.
‘I want to end my career with a big victory. Twelve years ago, I won the World Cup, yet I’ve lost three Champions League finals.’