Juventus
    Juventus
      17.05.2018 14:00 - in: Events S

      Eternal applause for an all-time great

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      Gianluigi Buffon announces the end of an illustrious playing career at Juventus during an emotional press conference at Allianz Stadium

      There will never be anyone like Gianluigi Buffon.

      As an entire Allianz Stadium press conference room rose to applaud an all-time Juventus great and genuine legend of the beautiful game, this was the overriding thought among everyone watching on.

      Seventeen years of exceptional service to the Bianconeri cause, 300 clean sheets, 404 victories and 58,709 minutes on the pitch are the numbers of a simply unique player who is admired the world over not only for his on-field achievements, but also his vivacious personality and everlasting loyalty. 

      Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, opened Thursday’s press conference by emphasising Buffon’s outstanding qualities, which have enriched the club’s incredible adventure over the years until the present day.

      “FOREVER GRATEFUL”

      “Gigi has been with us all the way on this long and eventful rollercoaster ride of a journey,” opened Agnelli. “When we descended into Hell in 2006, he stayed with us and played his part in our return to Paradise. We will be forever grateful for his loyalty.

      “What we now know is that Wojciech Szczesny will be defending our goal next season, just as Buffon and so many champions have done before him.

      “Gigi knows that he has my full support for the future. I wish for him to enjoy Saturday at Allianz Stadium. I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Gigi for everything he has done here.”

      A WONDERFUL BIANCONERI JOURNEY

      Upon thanking the president for his compliments, it was now the turn of Gigi Buffon to take to the microphone: “This is a very emotional day for me and I'm here off the back of an extraordinary and wonderful journey, shared with so many people who have cared about me greatly. As a way of reciprocating their faith in and affection for me, I have always tried to do my best.

      “Saturday (against Hellas Verona) will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two trophies (the 2017/18 Scudetto and Coppa Italia) and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special indeed.”

      LOOKING BACK WITH PRIDE

      “I'm proud to have played to the best of my ability right up until now, with performances which befit both myself and this club. I am making this decision in a calm and happy state of mind, which is not to be taken for granted for a sportsperson.

      “If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here. My own philosophy is built around that of the club and I shall continue to live my life in that way, as that's the only way I know to achieve results.”

      PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

      “The most exciting proposal for my career off the pitch has come from the president. Next week, after a few days to reflect, I shall make up my mind and follow my best instincts.

      “If my future indeed lies off the pitch, it will be necessary to undergo a training course in order to understand the right path to take and what role I could occupy.

      “If instead I decide to continue my career on the pitch, it will boil down to whether I still have the necessary drive and strength. It's something that I'd need to think long and hard about. I don't want to end up playing in lower leagues.

      “It had even crossed my mind to spend time away from football. These have been tough months for me, but in April I returned confident and happy. Ultimately, a six-month break might do me good.

      “I'm proud to have received many proposals for the future, but it's in my character to launch myself into the next challenge with the utmost dedication.”

      A WORD ON THE AZZURRI

      “It was time to move on from the national team a few months ago and my position has not changed on that front. I can confirm that I won’t be seeking further involvement with the Azzurri. Furthermore, there are several young keepers who need to gain the experience in order to grow.”

      BRIGHT BIANCONERI FUTURE

      “Juventus is a family for me and I am honoured to have been a part of it. The club is planning for a victorious future. If one day I am considered someone who can help the cause, Juventus will take priority for me.

      “I'm convinced that the club needs to plan for the future and, as someone who has spent many years as a player and several as captain, I am the first to understand that.

      “In Wojciech Szczesny, Juventus have an excellent goalkeeper, who is also 13 years younger than me.

      “To think that a winning cycle would finish on Saturday would be very serious indeed, but it won't. The essential common denominator to this club's success is the Agnelli family.”

      ALL THE BEST TO CAPTAIN CHIELLINI

      “There’s very little in the way of advice that I could give Giorgio [Chiellini], as he’s seen it all before. We both shared the Bianconeri dressing room for many years and he possesses all of the values required by a Juventus captain. I wish him all the best.”

      MUTUAL AND EVERLASTING THANKS

      “I shall always be grateful to Juventus,” declared Gigi during the press conference, at the end of which president Andrea Agnelli called upon the entire room to give the football legend a standing ovation:

      “Legends do exist,” concluded Agnelli. “Approximately 30% of our trophies at Juventus Museum bear your name, Gigi. You deserve a huge round of applause.” 

      There will never be anyone like Gianluigi Buffon.

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