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Gianluigi Buffon tipped to announce retirement this week

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Gianluigi Buffon leaves Juventus

Juve and Italy great Buffon is expected to reveal his future plans on Thursday amid speculation the 40-year-old goalkeeper and 176-cap global will retire. 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.

"In Wojciech Szczesny, Juventus have an excellent goalkeeper, who also has 13 years less than me".

Asked what the future held, Buffon said he had a number of offers 'on the pitch and outside the pitch'. "A return to Parma is a romantic childhood dream, but nothing more than that, no".

"It gives me great pleasure that so many people have come out to see me".

"I can confirm that I will be staying away from the national team". And when I'm not myself anymore, I'll go. Several young keepers need to gain experience to grow.

"I'm very emotional, but I arrive today with happiness and fulfilment". I felt that, day after day, and because of that love I fought and tried to do my best.

"Saturday will be my last match with Juventus and I do believe it will be the best way to conclude this incredible adventure", he told a news conference. I think it's the best way to end this wonderful adventure.

"If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here".

Buffon retired from the national team in November when Italy lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden but recently returned for friendlies.

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That was his 176th cap for Italy - a national record - since his debut against Russian Federation in October 1997.

He added: "It meant working hard, suffering, sweating, even improving although I was 32 years old and had won the World Cup".

The 2003 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year ends his career as the current Best FIFA Goalkeeper.

He also celebrated capturing Serie A and Coppa Italia glory last week - his seventh successive Scudetto and fourth consecutive Italian cup triumph.

Buffon said Oliver had "a rubbish bin for a heart" after awarding a controversial late penalty in Juventus' Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid.

The Italian is still facing the prospect of a European ban over comments he made on the performance of English referee, Michael Oliver.

Of that incident, he said: "I think some kind of punishment for what happened in Madrid is correct, not for what happened on the field because the referee gave a red card for what even now I can not understand, but because I crossed the line".

"The only problem is that my life has been organised for me for 23 years". I always had a sporting and correct conduct with everybody. "Over the years, I think we developed a unique rapport of closeness, of sharing and I can say of friendship, if I may be so bold", Buffon was quoted by Juventus website.

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