Gigi Buffon: Italian goalkeeper to leave Juventus

By Alex Butler  |  May 17, 2018 at 12:52 PM
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May 17 (UPI) -- Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon will leave Juventus at the end of the season.

Buffon announced his decision at a news conference Thursday at Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy. Wojciech Szczesny will take over in goal next season for the Bianconeri.

"This is a very emotional day for me and I'm here off the back of an extraordinary and wonderful journey, shared with so many people who have cared about me greatly," Buffon said. "As a way of reciprocating their faith in and affection for me, I have always tried to do my best."

"Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two trophies and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special indeed."

Buffon, 40, has played for the Serie A squad for 17 years, accumulating 300 clean sheets, 404 wins and 58,709 minutes on the pitch. Juventus battles Verona at 9 a.m. Saturday in Turin.

"Gigi has been with us all the way on this long and eventful rollercoaster ride of a journey," Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. "When we descended into Hell in 2006, he stayed with us and played his part in our return to Paradise. We will be forever grateful for his loyalty.

"What we now know is that Wojciech Szczesny will be defending our goal next season, just as Buffon and so many champions have done before him."

"Gigi knows that he has my full support for the future. I wish for him to enjoy Saturday at Allianz Stadium. I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Gigi for everything he has done here."

Buffon does not have an immediate plan of action for his next move. He told reporters that he will make up his mind and follow his "best instincts." He hasn't decided if he will retire.

The Bianconeri were eliminated from the Champions League by Real Madrid on April 11. Juventus capped off the league campaign by capturing its seventh consecutive Serie A crown.

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