Juventus will eventually need to take the retirement decision out of Gianluigi Buffon’s hands as the 42-year-old goalkeeper would happily play until he is 50, say Fabio Cannavaro and Francesco Totti.
A modern day legend is approaching the end of another contract in his distinguished career.
Buffon was taken back to Turin in the summer of 2019 after a one-season stint with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
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Prior to heading for France, the World Cup winner had spent 17 memorable years with the Bianconeri. He is delighted to be back in familiar surroundings, despite now filling back-up duty at Serie A giants, and is understood to be in line for another 12-month extension.
Buffon has hinted on a regular basis in the past that the day may be approaching for him to hang up his gloves, but those plans keep being pushed back.
Former Juve team-mate Cannavaro believes that will remain the case for as long as a modern day legend is allowed to keep putting pen to paper.
Totti, who was eventually forced through the exit at Roma at the end of a stunning career as a one-club man in the Italian capital, agrees that Buffon will want to play on for as long as possible.
He said: “I'll tell you; Gigi wants to play until he's 50, but he can play for two or three more seasons. Besides, he's in goal and is a back-up.”
With football currently locked down amid the coronavirus pandemic, Juventus have made no definitive calls on those seeing their current terms run down.
Buffon has, however, already hinted this season that he will look to stay on for at least one more year. He said in December 2019: “The reason I keep playing is that I can give myself, along with my team-mates and this club, many beautiful emotions that are worth living.
“The thing that most interests me personally, more than the games, is the role I can play that here at Juve with my team-mates, staff and managers.
“With regards to the future, I let life show me the way: at this moment I would do myself an injury if I thought I would stop playing, because I feel I am a point of reference, beyond the games that are played.”
Buffon made 656 appearances for Juve during his first spell with the club, helping them to nine Serie A titles and four Coppas Italia.
In the current campaign, 11 outings have been made – with those allowing him to pass Alessandro Del Piero’s record of top-flight games for the Bianconeri while also drawing level with AC Milan great Paolo Maldini when it comes to all-time appearances in Serie A.