Gianluigi Buffon was blessed with the kind of talent that has rarely been seen in the history of the game we love so much. As he has proven lately, he’s also been blessed with the longevity that allowed him to have a career that spanned over four different decades and last twice as long as even some of his most famous of teammates.
But even Buffon reaches an end.
And that end appears to be upon us.
At the age of 45, Buffon is expected to hang up his Puma gloves officially and announce his retirement from the game at some point over the next week, according to just about every outlet in the Italian press. Buffon’s agent is expected to meet with Parma — the club in which the GOAT returned to two years ago to try and help them get back to Serie A after being relegated — and work out the final details that will see him terminate the final year of his three-year deal and then make a retirement announcement to follow.
It is being reported that Buffon will then take a role with Roberto Mancini and the Italian national team, potentially serving in the same team manager position that Gianluca Vialli occupied prior to his passing back in January.
Buffon set to announce retirement. You’d need a dustbin for a heart not to feel anything ❤️ https://t.co/oTwhtqAfiG— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 1, 2023
It has been reported over the last few weeks that the Saudi Pro League had come in with a big-money offer for Buffon to try and see if he would have one final stop in his legendary career. But ever since he did not report for the beginning of Parma’s preseason preparations, the fact that retirement was in the cards became more and more of the most likely scenarios.
Given his age and stature, you knew Parma’s higher-ups were more than willing to give him as much time as he needs to come to the right decision.
As always with Buffon, the number of years that he’s been on his earth was never going to determine when he would decide to stop playing. He has maintained for years now that as long as he physically feels like he can play at a high level, then he would continue going on. It was like that in his 30s after his serious back injury during the 2010 World Cup, and it certainly was true as he made his return to Juventus after a year at Paris Saint-Germain and crossed over into his 40s.
Last season, however, was the first time since the 2017-18 season that he missed any sort of extended time due to injury. He missed 18 games in total with a handful of muscle injuries, causing him to miss nearly half of Parma’s 2022-23 campaign.