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By ESPN Staff

Buffon issues Juventus quit warning

ROME, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon has warned club bosses that failure to build a team capable of challenging for next season's Serie A title could result in him leaving at the end of the season.

'To go down in history as one of the cornerstones of a Juventus that finishes 12th in Serie A would not be gratifying for a keeper that many describe as among the best in the world,' the 28-year-old Italian international was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday.

'I need to feel there is something big to aim for. You can do without that for a year, but then you really start to miss it.'

Buffon, who has been at Juventus since 2001, was one of the few star players to remain at the club when it was forced down to the second division Serie B in July as punishment for its part in a match-fixing scandal.

Despite playing with a nine-point penalty, Juventus are on course to bounce straight back up into the top flight at the end of this season.

After 18 matches, they lie third in Serie B, one point behind leaders Rimini with a game in hand but the prospect of a return to Serie A football next season would not on its own be enough to keep him at the club, Buffon warned.

'In the last few months, many Juventus officials have said how much they respect me and made me feel that I really belong to this club,' he added.

'At a certain point, however, one has to stop and look at things from a purely footballing point of view and weigh up whether one's personal interests and the interests of the club coincide.'