For the past 17 years, Gianluigi Buffon has been Juventus’ starting goalkeeper. A lot of players would love to have a career that is even half that length, but when it comes to Buffon, throw all kinds of logical standards out the window because he is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent and leader. We don’t know if there will ever be somebody else like Buffon — somebody of his class, his loyalty and his ability.
But, as Buffon sat in front of the microphone at Allianz Stadium on Thursday, the conversation was more about the past rather than the future.
At the age of 40, Buffon has announced that his last match with Juventus will come in this Saturday’s season finale against Hellas Verona. It’s official. We’ve heard it from his mouth and, based on what kind of person he is, you know that it’s going to be exactly that way. Buffon’s final game with the greatest club Italy has to offer will be this weekend as Juventus get ready to lift and celebrate their seventh consecutive Serie A title.
Buffon left the door open for another season on the field, but said that the most important he has will be from Juventus President Andrea Agnelli — which makes you think that there’s some kind of front office role at the club on the table.
@gianluigibuffon: "Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 17, 2018
In an interview with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique that was posted on the Player’s Tribune website on Wednesday, Buffon discussed exactly what we thought this press conference was going to be about — his retirement. Pique posed a very good question: “Are you afraid of retirement? You’ve been a professional longer than you have not. So, are you afraid of retirement, leaving football, and starting a life that is unknown to you?”
Here’s Buffon’s answer:
“I would be dishonest if I told you I’m not afraid, but deep down I feel calm and at peace because I know that I’m naturally curious and the day I stop playing football I will find a way not to get bored and I’ll stay busy. After all, players like us who have lived the game intensely have to keep their minds occupied and have a reason to get up, somebody to fight for. I’ll never get bored or miss being in the public eye.
“The only problem is that my life has been organized for me for 23 years. Every morning you are given a timetable. However, when you have 24 hours ahead of you with nothing to do, that could be a problem.”
With Buffon later adding that he wants to take classes to be a sporting director, manager or trainer, I don’t think he’s going to have a lot of time to just sit around and bore himself to death come the summer months.
Or maybe he can become a PE teacher — something Buffon said he might have done if hadn’t, you know, done this whole football thing and become the best goalkeeper ever.
@gianluigibuffon: "If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here. My own philosophy is built around that of the club and I shall continue to live my life in that way, as that's the only way I know to achieve results."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 17, 2018
We may only have one more game with Buffon the player, but we will forever get to say that we’ve seen Buffon the man grace this beloved Juventus jersey of ours.
Bless Buffon the entire person because it’s been a absolutely amazing 17-year run as the good has far outweighed the bad. And even in the bad, Buffon handled it in a way that only somebody like Buffon could have. That’s what makes him so great, so lovable, so Buffon.