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 By Ben Gladwell

Gianluigi Buffon hints at postponing retirement but no announcement yet

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon hinted that he will play on next season, although he said it is not the time to make any announcements about his future.

The 40-year-old's contract expires in the summer, but after being offered the prospect of a call-up to the next Italy squad to face Argentina and England later this month, Buffon seems increasingly likely to continue his playing career beyond the summer.

He was asked whether he had yet made up his mind at a news conference on Monday, prior to Juventus' Champions League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, and while he refused to reveal his cards, he said a decision had been made and his words suggested that he will still be wearing a Juve shirt next season.

"I don't have to make any more reflections because they've already been made -- we just need to agree them with the president, but his are pretty much the same thoughts that I have," he said. "It's not the right time to talk about an individual now, though, even if that individual is me.

Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon eased off claims he would be retiring in the summer.

"We've got the Champions League and Serie A and Coppa Italia to think about. I'm sure the fans would be boosted to know I will play on, but as I have said, now is not the time to declare anything."

Defeat to Spurs on Wednesday could theoretically be Buffon's final appearance in the Champions League, but his answer to his feelings on that also revealed how he believes he will still be playing in the competition next term.

"I've got to be honest in that I've never thought about it [being my last Champions League game], because I'm naturally optimistic," he said. "I hope that, at least for this year, it won't be the last for me and the last for Juve. I hope there will be many more important ones to come.

"I feel I am still a goalkeeper who can perform at this level and I can still make a difference."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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