Toward the end of January, we heard word from Gianluigi Buffon himself that the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be the end of the road for the legendary goalkeeper. It would be the final act in one of the best careers the game of football has ever seen, one filled with titles, amazing saves, plenty of frustrated strikers and just about everything in between.
Two months later, Buffon isn't wavering on what he said.
In an interview with So Foot Magazine, Buffon has confirmed that retirement in two years is the plan and that it's not going to be any different. Come the end of the gathering in Russia, where he would become the first-ever player to take part in his sixth World Cup, the Greatest of All Time is going to hang up his Puma gloves and boots and call it a career.
"After this year, I will play for two more seasons before quitting. I do not want to play after 40 years, but I want to get to 40 years.
"Even if I were to be offered twice the salary elsewhere, I would stay at Juve for life. Being part of it makes me proud, because it has a value. And now certain values seem out of fashion.
"I have a wealth of experience, but I do not want to coach. I rather like the role of recruiter. They are ambitious. I would go to nations like the United States or China, which have great potential for a large population."
(Hey, if Gigi wants to kick it while he's in the United States while on a recruiting trip...)
Buffon has always said that he will play as long as he can stay at the highest competitive level in terms of his personal performances. Clearly, with Buffon setting a new Serie A record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal earlier this month, those performances are still capable of winning Juventus a whole lot of points.
Seeing Buffon step aside was bound to happen sooner rather than later. That's just what happens when you are still playing while in your late 30s. Father Time only allows you to play for that much longer — and obviously there's nobody who knows Buffon's durability and ability to play at this incredibly high level than the man himself. Whatever he wants to do, he can do. He's certainly earned that right with how his career has gone and how loyal he has been to Juventus over these last 14 years.
Now go out and get this man as many trophies as humanly possible before he retires. That would be a pretty good way to send him out, that's for sure. Plus, as the captain for both club and country, he'd be the first one to lift them, so there's also that, which is nice.