5 players who could take retirement from professional football in 2020
- A number of legends could retire from the beautiful game this year.
#2 Gianluigi Buffon
Age: 42 years
Club: Parma, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain
Largely considered a pivotal figure in the golden age of Italian goalkeeping, Gianluigi Buffon has played at the highest level of football for 25 years and has earned plaudits for both his domestic and international performances between the sticks.
The former Italy international is often considered the heir to Dino Zoff - an inheritance that cannot be transferred easily - and rightfully acquired equal status through his dominant presence at goal and his exceptional reflexes, coupled with admirable leadership qualities.
The Carrara-born stopper began his professional career with Parma in 1995 and helped them win the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup, and the Supercoppa Italiana four years later. The youngster earned a reputation as one of the most promising goalkeepers in Italy and was soon bought by Juventus for a then-record fee of €52 million in 2001.
The 42-year-old enjoyed 17 seasons of unprecedented success with the Turin giants before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018 in the hopes of winning the only major trophy to have eluded him: the UEFA Champions League. He won the Ligue 1 title with PSG before making his return to the Old Lady just a season later. Upon his arrival, he famously turned down the number 1 shirt offered by Wojciech Szczesny as he insisted that he did not come back to colonise any player's position in the squad.
The 2006 World cup winner won a record nine Serie A crowns, four Coppa Italia trophies, and five Supercoppa Italiana titles with the Bianconeri and was named Serie A's Goalkeeper of the Year a record 12 times.
Buffon's return to Juventus not only marked a homecoming for the veteran, who stuck with the club when they were relegated in 2006 after the Calciopoli scandal, but it also served as a bittersweet reminder that his playing career might soon come to an end.
Published 13 Feb 2020, 10:59 IST