Gianluigi Buffon says he will never really retire from playing and will be available for Juventus or Italy even when he is 80. The legendary goalkeeper is expected to hang up his gloves at the end of the season after 22 years at the highest level with Parma and Juve.
Buffon's playing days coming to an end
Buffon has previously stated he is "99.9 per cent" certain he will retire but continues to leave the door open. Gianluigi Donnarumma may be Buffon's heir-apparent for the national side but who replaces him for the long term at Juve remains unclear, and the 39-year-old says he will always be ready to turn out for the Bianconeri – no matter what age he is.
"I just don't know how to answer these [retirement] questions," he told Der Spiegel. "Will I stop? Will I not stop? I feel like a soldier in the service of my club and my country. The big picture was always more important to me than my own. That's how I see my work. I am very likely to stop, but I am still available for Juventus and the national team. Even at 80, if suddenly no goalkeeper would be there, they should call me – I would train briefly and then jump in."
Not being able to bow out at the World Cup, Buffon's only regret
One regret Buffon has is not finishing his career with a sixth trip to the World Cup finals - Italy lost to Sweden in last month's play-offs .
It will be the first edition of the tournament the Azzurri have missed since 1958 and Buffon is ashamed to have been part of a squad that failed. "I will regret Italy missing the World Cup for the rest of my life," he explained. "We took away that joy for children, that rapid heartbeat you get from watching your country play in an event like that."