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Buffon: This could be my final year

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Say it ain’t so captain!

Previews - UEFA Champions League Final
Gianluigi Buffon
Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images

In an interview before today’s World Cup qualifier for Italy, Juventus captain and talisman Gianluigi Buffon has said that he is contemplating finally hanging up his gloves and retiring from the game.

Speaking to the media in the pre-match press conference, he was first asked if getting over Juventus’ loss in the Champions League Final was hard to get over.

“We move easily, because at the end of the day I’d like to finish the season with a victory, a good result and hopefully a clean sheet. All these ingredients make our approach to the game very focused.

“The career of a sportsman is made up of victories and of defeats. I have won a great deal in my time and I’ve lost a fair bit too. We must always look forward. There was too much optimism going into a game where even the stupidest Real Madrid player had many more trophies and appearances in big Finals than me.”

When asked how he felt about Napoli, Inter, Roma, Milan and Fiorentina fans cheering Juve’s loss in the Final with scenes of wild partying.

“I am proud not to be like them. In football there are victories and defeats. I remain convinced that you learn much more from a loss than a success, so this is why I struggle to accept the attitude of those who automatically cheer against Juve.

“I am honestly proud to be nothing like those who celebrated after the Final in Cardiff.”

Buffon admitted that the expectations of their second Champions League Final in three years dragged them down.

“There was too much optimism going into a game where even the least renown Real Madrid player had many more trophies and appearances in big Finals than me.”

Rivals today Liechtenstein are not considered tough opponents, and talk has been about improving goal difference.

“I don’t like these announcements beforehand of a festival of goals, as that shows a lack of respect for the opposition. They are 11 men, just like us. It would also encourage our team to relax.

“We know that we’ll need the performance to earn this victory and also that we’ve got no choice but to win, so we’ve got to give it our all and remain concentrated.”

And then his thoughts on a topic we never wanted to hear about.

“This could be my final year and I want to experience it as a protagonist.

“I am not eternal and I never thought that I was. I think of the group, so Juventus and the Nazionale quite rightly have to plan beyond the individual.

“I said in the past that I might not want to be a Coach, but perhaps a CT at international level would be less stressful on a daily basis. When I do retire, I’d like to rest a little bit, as it has been a long and intense career.”

What? I’m not crying, you’re crying!