Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon discusses retirement and his plans for the future

Gianluigi Buffon, one of football’s most popular players, is expected to announce his retirement from playing.

The 40-year-old recently captained Juventus to a seventh consecutive Serie A title and fourth straight Coppa Italia.

If he does pack it in, then Juve’s game against Verona on Sunday will be his 640th league appearance.

And in an interview with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique in, the goalkeeper discussed retirement and expressed fears about the unknown when the day finally comes.

“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.”

Buffon revealed he would have conversations with the club bosses in the summer, which is likely to culminate in the much awaited press conference.

He revealed he won’t rush into his next role and would like to keep his options open to look at courses to become a director, a manager and a coach.

“I’m very happy at the moment,” he added. “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.”

In a wide ranging interview, Buffon was also asked about the way his position has changed where goalkeepers are expected to use their feet more.

“It has been a good change for me, a just change, because football has improved and less time is wasted.

“It has made me improve, because all goalkeepers have to play more with their feet and play differently. You have to be able to kick and move out to the field. It’s a more complicated job than before. It is better for me, because I’m 40 and I’m still playing, because I like to compete and to improve.”

Beginning at Parma in 1995, Buffon made his debut in a 0-0 draw against a Milan side containing Roberto Baggio and George Weah.

He won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia before joining Juventus in 2001 for £32million and has gone from strength to strength, adding a World Cup winners’ medal to his collection, too.

He is a hugely popular figure and his entry on Juventus’ official website reads: “With an infectious personality and relentless desire to win, Juventus’ captain is a true leader both on the pitch and in the dressing room.”

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