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Jan 15, 2014

Agent: Buffon can play on for years

Gianluigi Buffon could play on at the highest level for four more years, according to the player's agent.

Gianluigi Buffon has made a number of misjudgments this season.
Gianluigi Buffon has been described as football's greatest ever goalkeeper by his agent.

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The 35-year-old still has 18 months left to run on his current contract with the Bianconeri, but agent Silvano Martina says it is far too early to think about who could eventually inherit his number one jersey both for club and country.

"I think he'll play for another four years," Martina told Tuttojuve.com. "I think this is a question which you would need to ask me in three or four years."

According to Martina, his client is still one of the best in the business, and would have been worthy of a place on the FIFPro World XI, and not Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.

"He [Buffon] is not only the best goalkeeper of the year, he is the best in the history of football," Martina said. "Certainly a club's results have an influence on this vote, but in terms of overall value, with all due respect to the other goalkeepers, I think that Gigi is a cut above."

Doubts raised at the start of the season, when Juve were leaking goals, and during the Confederations Cup last summer, when the Italy No. 1 came in for some criticism, have been wiped away by a run of form which has seen the Bianconeri cement their place at the top of Serie A.

Buffon's own contribution to an 11-game winning streak is anything but negligible. He has kept nine clean sheets, conceding only two goals, both in 4-1 victories for his side against Atalanta and Cagliari, after letting in four against Fiorentina.

"The Fiorentina defeat was a heavy one, but we had won six and drawn one and were starting to feel a bit comfortable before we played the Viola," Buffon told Italy's Italia Uno channel. "But I think that was a turning point. If we had not lost that game, I don't think we would be here now talking about 11 wins in a row.

"This is the Juve who, together with the second year under [Marcello] Lippi, are playing the best football."

Alongside Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini has become a backbone of the current Juventus team, making his 300th appearance for the club in the recent 3-0 win over Roma. That earned him a place in the club's hall of fame, and he says he still has a lot to give to the club.

"My aim is to reach 500," he said. "I hope this will be the last shirt that I wear."

Winning a third straight Scudetto is another of the 29-year-old's ambitions, but in spite of an eight point cushion at the top of the table going into the second half of the season, Chiellini is not counting his chickens.

"There's still a long way to go," the Italian defender said. "We've got a bit of an advantage, but things can soon change. We've gained some incredible results, but we could do without any further setbacks like the one in Florence."

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