Buffon to play last match for Juventus

Italy's talismanic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will play his last match for Juventus after 17 years at the club when they host Hellas Verona in Serie A tomorrow.

Yet the 40-year-old, who has won nine Serie A titles with Juventus, including the last seven in a row, stopped short of announcing his retirement in a news conference yesterday.

Buffon, close to tears at times, said that until two weeks ago he had been set to end his playing career, but changed his mind after receiving "very interesting" proposals.

He said: "For now, I only know that Saturday I will play a game. Until a few days ago, it was certain that I would stop playing. Now there are some very interesting proposals."

Mediaset Premium reported that Liverpool, who will meet Real Madrid in next week's Champions League final and have also qualified for Europe's elite club competition next season, are keen on the services of Buffon, who said he will not play in the lower leagues.

He said: "I am certainly not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in the third or fourth division. I am a competitive animal and I wouldn't be able to live or feel at ease in that situation."

Juventus won a league and cup double this season, their fourth in a row, but also suffered a bitter Champions League quarter-final exit against Real Madrid, who won with a stoppage-time penalty. - REUTERS