As one of the most decorated goalkeepers of all-time, Gianluigi Buffon will reach the end of the 2020-21 season as a 43-year-old. The catlike reflexes are gone, but moments like clutch penalty saves are still part of his game even in his mid-40s. However, with his contract with Juventus coming to an end, it is likely that Buffon will look to find one more project to see out his career. He has been linked with several clubs, including taking on a backup role at FC Barcelona as well as having the chance to return to his first club in Parma. Parma have been relegated, but Buffon would likely play regularly in Serie B and have the chance to play in Serie A if they were promoted.
However, the goalkeeper was asked recently what he would do after he leaves Juve. Though many assume he would simply retire, the legendary Italian keeper said that he was not yet decided on what he would do once the season comes to an end. Asked by DAZN what happens next, he said: For my future I will take 20 to 25 days to decide.
"I have received offers. I want to see if I have enthusiasm, motivation and desire to work hard to be Buffon again. You can't wage war alone: I tried to give others enthusiasm, if someone could give it to me I would welcome it. Otherwise I will stop playing in a peaceful way."
Will Gianluigi Buffon play on or retire?
As noted above, the Italian seems to be keen to evaluate the offers. In many cases like this, the project has to be intriguing enough to get a veteran excited about playing on. It also means finding professional happiness in a location that suits both player and family. Therefore, there are likely to be a limited number of projects that could legitimately give Buffon the desire to keep on playing.
At 43, though, there is also a limited number of clubs who would consider making space. Although he brings a wealth of expertise – 176 caps for Italy, for example – to any dressing room, he also likely brings a burning desire to play regularly. The majority of top clubs in Europe would find it hard to make a 43-year-old their first choice keeper. By the same token, though, many clubs would also love to have the experience and winning mentality that Buffon exhibits – can they give him enough reason to prolong his career, though?
There are numerous things to think about when it comes to the hiring of Buffon. Chief among the deciding factors, though, is going to be whether or not he can keep playing at the level he has in the past. His most recent game for Juventus, Buffon saved a penalty and made some other decisive moments. The quality is still there in relative abundance – it just depends on how often that quality will shine through. For now, though, it looks like Buffon is more likely to stick around the game for at least one more year.