Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon still on course with plan to retire next summer
Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon remains "convinced" with his decision to retire next summer -- unless he wins the Champions League in May.
Buffon, 39, has reiterated that he intends to bow out following the 2018 World Cup, which he hopes to participate in with Italy, who face Sweden in a qualifying playoff next month.
However, winning the Champions League for the first time with Juventus could postpone his retirement as he may then target winning next season's FIFA Club World Cup.
"This is my last season and I'm pretty convinced with the decision I have taken," Buffon told Sky Sport Italia. "More than anything, I am a serene person in that I have no fear for the future and what could be my life.
"I am facing it and I will face it with the desire and enthusiasm to put myself to the test. As a consequence, playing on for one or two more years would not take anything away from or add anything to what I have already done.
"Like with everything, I look for a reason, and the only reason [to continue] would be winning the Champions League. At that point, I would like to try to win the Club World Cup, and maybe [Wojciech] Szczesny would let me play one game.
"But I think that, with a goalkeeper like him behind you, it's normal that I step aside from next year."
Buffon, who has been at Juventus since 2001, was named The Best FIFA Goalkeeper this week, ahead of Real Madrid's Keylor Navas and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich, and he showed some emotion when he picked up the award in London.
"More than emotional, I'd say I was satisfied, happy and proud to receive this recognition, which was nothing to be taken for granted, and I think also deserved for what I have done," Buffon said. "It was a mix of emotions that I've not had very often.
"In the end, the greatest joy was represented by having the knowledge that if I did not have such a big club and a team made up of such good teammates, I would never have been able to make it here. As I always say, sharing pain and joy is one of the most beautiful aspects of team sports."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.