Buffon leaving Juventus at end of season

Gianluigi Buffon is parting ways with the Old Lady.

Juventus' iconic goalkeeper and longtime captain announced Thursday that he will play his final match for the club on Saturday against Hellas Verona, ending his 17-year tenure with the reigning Serie A champions.

"Saturday will be my final match for Juventus, and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side will be very special," the 40-year-old said.

Buffon has yet to decide if he will outright retire, but conceded he feels the time is right to bring an end to his international career. Buffon earned 176 caps for Italy - far and away the nation's most capped player - and was vital in its 2006 World Cup triumph.

"I can confirm that I'll be staying away from the national team," he said. "There are several young keepers who need to gain experience to grow."

Buffon joined Juventus in 2001 from Parma for approximately €52 million, a sum that remains the highest transfer fee ever paid for a goalkeeper. He went on to make 639 Serie A appearances for the club, helping the Bianconeri win nine Scudettos as well as four Coppa Italia titles.

He displayed his loyalty to Juventus in 2006, when the club was relegated to Serie B as a result of the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italian football. Though he admitted he thought about leaving, Buffon remained with Juventus that season in Serie B, helping it secure an immediate return to the top flight the following year.

Buffon leaving Juventus at end of season
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