The end is nigh for Gianluigi Buffon and his professional football career.
At the end of the current season, the 39-year-old is “99.9%” sure he will call time on a glistening career that’s seen him become one of the best.
But according to Buffon, there is one way that will make him stay on at Juventus for another season: if they win the Champions League.
The Italian has never won Europe’s elite competition and lifting the trophy would motivate him to retire after the 2018/19 term instead.
“Retiring after Russia 2018? Yes, this’ll happen 99.9 percent,” he said over the summer. “I’ll have one more intense and busy season with important appointments. After that, it’ll be time.
“Together with “Pres” (Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli), we’ve left one possibility open: if we were to win the Champions League, I’d play for another season.”
When Buffon does eventually retire and looks back on his career, only then will he realise just how much he’s achieved.
Ten Serie A titles, three Copa Italias, five Supercoppa Italianas and, let’s not forget, the 2006 World Cup with Italy.
Winning the Champions League would be the pièce de résistance in Buffon’s trophy cabinet and cement his place as one of the greatest ever goalkeepers.
Buffon has had the privilege of playing alongside some football royalty throughout his senior career, not to mention those he’s played against.
In an interview with Copa 90, per the Mirror, the veteran shot-stopper was initially asked to name his dream five-a-side team but ended up revealing the best he’s ever faced.
Unsurprisingly, he started with Brazilian Ronaldo and then named Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to complete his top three.
But then he realised he’d missed out an absolute legend of the game: Zinedine Zidane. Check out Buffon’s chat in the video below.
“I really hate strikers,” he said. “I’d say the best I’ve played against are Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, Messi… and Cristiano Ronaldo
“I really hate strikers,” he said. “I’d say the best I’ve played against are Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, Messi… and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“These are the three who… and Zidane. Let’s add Zidane. These are the four who would start in any team.”
Buffon then turned his attentions to his teammates, both past and present, and named Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro and Giorgio Chiellini as some of the best defenders he’s played with.
And in terms of international teammates with “pure talent”, Buffon hailed Andrea Pirlo, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Baggio and Paolo Maldini.