Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed he will leave Juventus after 17 years but indicated that some offers may hold off his retirement.
“On Saturday, I will play a game and this is the only certainty,” Buffon said (h/t ESPN FC). “With [president] Andrea [Agnelli], we are talking all the time and he knows all that is going on in my life, and in fact he’s an advisor I don’t want to go without.
“Up to two week ago, it was certain that I was going to quit playing, but now there are some offers that have arrived to continue playing, or offers from off the field — and Andrea has made me the best offer if I choose to stop playing.
“I think after Saturday, when I have some serenity, I will take my final decision, which will be to follow what comes from within me.
“Next week will be the week I decide what to do, but it’s a decision which will not change the way I feel. Two weeks ago, I had accepted that I was an ex-footballer, so whatever I do decide to do, I will be serene about it. The main thing is I don’t blemish this half of a lifetime I’ve had at Juventus, and those who have believed in me.
“All that mattered for me was ending in the best way possible at Juve, and let’s not forget that Juve have an excellent goalkeeper who is 13 years younger than me.”
Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked to Buffon, but Buffon did say he will not continue in Serie A or anywhere else unless it is at a high level.
“For Italy, we can’t even talk about it,” he said. “A return to Parma is a romantic childhood dream, but nothing more than that.
“Certainly I’m not the kind of person who would like to end his career in just any old lower level league because I’m a competitive animal and I couldn’t cope in such a context.”
“For the national team, I’ve said that if Buffon became a problem three months ago, I daren’t think what I would have become three months, six months, 12 months later,” he said. “It would be extremely difficult to digest and something I want to distance myself from. I think that the national team already has some great young players who need to be given a chance.”
“I want to summarise what is a special day for me, one which I arrive at with a lot of serenity and happiness,” he said. “These feelings are thanks to an amazing path I’ve been lucky enough to share with many people who really liked me, and I felt this day after day, and for this I fought and tried to do my best.
“Saturday will be my last game for Juventus and I think it will be the best way to end this fantastic adventure. My fear was to arrive at the end of my adventure with Juve as somebody just being tolerated or a player whose engine had broken down — I can say it is not like this, and I am proud that I have been able to express maybe not my best, but performances always worthy of my name and Juventus.
“This is the greatest gratification, and that is why I arrive at this moment so happy, because it’s not something you take for granted to be able to perform at this level for so long.”