Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed he will leave Juventus for the second time in his career, saying he has reached “the end of a cycle”.
The former Italy international returned to Juventus in July 2019 from PSG and has made almost 700 appearances for the Turin club in a decorated career.
The 43-year-old has played seven Serie A games for Juve this campaign and the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta on May 19 is set to be his last for the club.
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“My future is clear and defined. This beautiful and very long experience with Juve will come to a definitive end this year,” he told beIN Sports.
“Either I stop playing, or if I find a situation that motivates me to play or have a different life experience, I will take it into consideration.
“I feel I gave everything for Juve. I have received everything and more than this cannot be done.
We have reached the end of a cycle and it’s right for one to remove the disturbance.
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Serie A champions Juve are struggling this season. Andrea Pirlo’s side sit fifth in the Serie A table, one point behind Napoli, with three games remaining and therefore risk not qualifying for Champions League football next season. Buffon says the current Juve squad lack character.
“We lacked continuity,” Buffon said.
“In the end, in the games we played against the top five, six teams, we often won. We drew sometimes and lost some.
“But it has always been even games. Instead, we lost stupid points against the lesser teams. This means you are a team that have yet to grow in character.”
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Pirlo: ‘Angry’ Juve must not give up on top-four
Pirlo called on his Juventus players to continue believing in Champions League qualification after they were left furious by a damaging 3-0 defeat by AC Milan on Sunday.
Pirlo’s side are at risk of failing to qualify for Europe’s top club competition for the first time in a decade ahead of their trip to Sassuolo on Wednesday.
“We are very angry. I do not want to see resignation on the faces of the players,” Pirlo told a news conference.
We are Juventus and we cannot be resigned. We must fight until the end.
Pirlo was part of the AC Milan team that famously surrendered a 3-0 lead to lose to Liverpool on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the 2005 Champions League final, and he used the game as an example of how quickly things can change.
“I have seen it all, I have lost a Champions League final after winning 3-0 at halftime. We still have the chance to reach our objective,” he said.
“There was great disappointment because we lost 3-0 in an important game and a head-to-head clash with a rival.
“But like I said, anything can happen in football and our objective has not changed. It is up to us and we hope that they will slip up. We have the duty to believe until the end.”
Juventus’ poor season, in which they were also knocked out of the Champions League by Porto at the last-16 stage, has led to widespread reports that Pirlo will be replaced at the end of the season.
“I am not afraid, I am only thinking about the good of Juventus, which is more important than anything. Then the results will dictate if I will be the coach,” he said.
Additional reporting from Reuters.
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