Juventus eyeing Paul Pogba return from Manchester United

According to reports in Italy this afternoon, Serie A champions Juventus are keen on on bringing Paul Pogba back to

According to reports in Italy this afternoon, Serie A champions Juventus are keen on on bringing Paul Pogba back to the club this summer.

Return

In one of the most highly-publicised transfers of all time, French midfield maestro Pogba re-joined Manchester United in the summer of 2016, after making the move to Juventus as a free agent in 2012.

Pogba’s 105 million Euro fee was the highest of all-time upon the deal’s completion, with many having immediately questioned the decision of United to splash out such a hefty fee on the Frenchman’s signature.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 10: Paul Pogba (L) of Juventus celebrates his goal with Andrea Pirlo of Juventus during the match between the A-League All Stars and Juventus at ANZ Stadium on August 10, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

After a hit-and-miss debut season back in Manchester, Pogba started out the recently-finished 2017/18 campaign in scintillating fashion, finally looking as though he was set to flourish into the player that had been on show for Juventus for several seasons running.

However, a thigh injury picked up in September saw the gifted Frenchman ruled out for two months, with Pogba having since failed to string together a consistent run of dominant performances for Manchester United.

Blame game

Much of the blame for Pogba’s struggles has been placed on the shoulders of Red Devils’ manager Jose Mourinho, with a public touchline fall-out between the pair during United’s 2-0 loss at the hands of Tottenham in January having seen the midfielder struggle for game-time for long stretches in the months that followed.

Relationship

As a result of his struggles on the pitch and difficult relationship with Mourinho off of it, Pogba has been heavily linked with a summer departure from Old Trafford, with Real Madrid and PSG the sides most persistently touted as potential destinations for the Frenchman.

Manchester to Turin again?

However, another club who have been named as possible contenders for Pogba, albeit on a far lesser scale than the aforementioned sides, have been Italian champions Juventus.

Pogba of course made his name with the Bianconeri between 2012 and 2016, with Italian outlet Tuttosport reporting this afternoon that Max Allegri wants to bring either the Frenchman or Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (who coincidentally has also been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford) to Turin this summer.

As such, the possibility also exists that, if Savic does in fact make the move to Manchester over the next few months, that Pogba could head back to Juventus.

However, as things stand, a Pogba return to the Allianz Stadium, for obvious reasons, looks unlikely.

Double deal: Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur set to swap stars

Juventus legend Gigi Buffon set for PSG

Juventus legend Gigi Buffon set for PSG

According to reports in both Italy and France, departing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is all set for a move to

According to reports in both Italy and France, departing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is all set for a move to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Legend

Buffon, now 40, is regarded by many to be the greatest goalkeeper of all-time, with his near-unrivaled combination of lightning-quick reflexes, shot-stopping ability, command of his area and, crucially, longevity, having set the veteran apart from so many of the finest to ever strap on a pair of goalkeeper gloves.

After coming up through the youth ranks at former Italian giants Parma, Buffon eventually broke into the Crociati’s first-team in 1995, as an inexperienced but prodigious teen.

Following 3 years at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, during which he clinched the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup, Buffon made the move to Juventus for a then-world-record 52 million Euro in 2001, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Domestic dominance

Buffon has since gone on to establish himself as undoubtedly the greatest to ever step between the posts over the course of the storied history of the Bianconeri, and has racked up an incredible 11 (9 official) Serie A titles (including the last 7), 1 Serie B, 4 Coppa Italias and 5 Supercoppa Italianas in Turin.

Perhaps the gesture that will stand out the most to fans of the Old Lady will always be the fact that Buffon stayed loyal to the club despite their relegation to the second-tier of Italian football in 2006 following the Calciopoli scandal, despite the Italian legend having had massive offers on the table from some of European football’s other heavyweights.

In total, Buffon pulled on the Bianconeri jersey on 656 occasions over the last 17 years, keeping exactly 301 clean sheets over that span, and has spent more time on the pitch as a Juventus player than any other in the history of the club.

Emotional farewell

But, in an announcement that had long been predicted, Buffon confirmed in a press conference last Thursday that he was set to bring his spell with the Italian champions to an end this summer, with the shot-stopper having lined out in the black and white of the Old Lady for the final time during Juve’s 2-1 Serie A victory over Hellas Verona on Saturday.

France bound

However, while Buffon confirmed his Juventus departure, the veteran refused to confirm his retirement, with rumours having since been rife in the media that he is now set to begin a new adventure at another club.

The Chinese Super League was initially suggested, along with both the MLS and even Argentina, but a number of more high-profile destinations have since been touted for Buffon over the last few days.

Both Liverpool and Real Madrid have been suggested as possible landing spots with betting outlets in England, but, as per reports from both France Football and Sky Sport Italia over the last 24 hours, Buffon is in fact all set for a move to Ligue 1 champions PSG.

And, as per a further update courtesy of Paris United this evening, Buffon’s agent, Silvano Martina, has now accepted a contract offer from the capital giants which will see the Italian ply his trade at the Parc des Princes for the next two seasons:

Sergio Ramos pays tribute to Gigi Buffon, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres

Marca: Arteta will not become Arsenal manager, Gunners in negotiations with former PSG boss

Sergio Aguero to Chelsea & Gigi Buffon to Liverpool: Bookies slash transfer odds

Sergio Aguero to Chelsea transfer odds Will Sergio Aguero still be a Man City player at the start of the

Sergio Aguero to Chelsea transfer odds

Will Sergio Aguero still be a Man City player at the start of the 2018-19 season?

Aguero had an injury-hit season as Man City won the Premier League this year.

The Argentine international striker was forced on the sidelines during the season after he was involved in car crash in Amsterdam.

However Aguero still had a successful year. He scored 21 goals in the Premier League; he was the third highest scorer after Mo Salah and Harry Kane.

But there’s now plenty of chatter that Aguero may leave Man City. And the bookies have slashed odds on Aguero leaving Manchester to join Chelsea in the summer.


Unibet: Sergio Aguero transfer odds


The bookies have Aguero priced at 30/1 to join Chelsea in the off-season.

The shortest odds (1/40) remain on Aguero still being at Man City at the start of next term.

Atletico Madrid are priced at 6/1 to sign Aguero for a second spell at the Rojiblancos, while FC Barcelona are 20/1 to sign Kun this summer.


Sergio Aguero transfer tip: Chelsea are 30/1 with Unibet

Gianluigi Buffon celebrates

TURIN, ITALY – MAY 09: Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus celebrates after his side score their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Juventus and AS Monaco at Juventus Stadium on May 9, 2017 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Gigi Buffon to Liverpool odds slashed

Could Italian legend Gigi Buffon move to the Premier League this summer?

Last week Buffon confirmed that he’s leaving Juventus this summer.

After 17-years in Turin, Buffon is still very much in demand. Indeed some of the biggest clubs in world football are said to be battling over Buffon’s signature this summer.

Of course, Buffon should have a quiet summer after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.


Unibet: Gigi Buffon transfer odds


Liverpool are the third favourites to sign Buffon. Liverpool are 4/1 to complete that transfer.

PSG are the favourites with the bookies to sign the stopper at 1/20.

Real Madrid are the second favourites at 3/1 to sign Buffon.


Gigi Buffon transfer tip: Liverpool are 4/1 with Unibet

Also see: World Cup 2018: Group A preview & predictions.

2018 Ballon d’Or odds: Cristiano Ronaldo favourite, Mo Salah ahead of Leo Messi.


Ready for the World Cup? Get all the latest World Cup betting tips & predictions here.

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

Italian Football Shakeup Offers Hope To Juve’s Rivals

  Juventus’ players parade aboard an open-top bus to celebrate the “scudetto” with supporters in central Turin after the Italian

 

Juventus’ players parade aboard an open-top bus to celebrate the “scudetto” with supporters in central Turin after the Italian Serie A last football match of the season, on May 19, 2018. Juventus won their 34th Serie A title and seventh in succession. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

The shakeup in Italian football promised by Roberto Mancini following the Azzurri’s World Cup flop has offered hope to Juventus’s rivals that it could impact the Serie A next season.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri met with club bosses on Monday to discuss his future contract and potential summer signings after claiming a fourth league and Cup doubles in as many years in Turin.

Napoli challenged Juventus for much of the season but the Turin giants again came out on top by a four-point margin to extend their dominance for a seventh consecutive season.

The 2017-2018 Serie A season was overshadowed by the drama playing out within a national side in tatters after their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, defender Andrea Barzagli and midfielder Daniele De Rossi —- three players who helped Italy to a fourth World Cup in 2006 —- announced they were retiring after a 1-0 aggregate loss to Sweden in a playoff last November.

Six months later Mancini, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg to take the job, was appointed national coach promising a “rebirth” in the national side, and to restore pride in the demoralised Azzurri.

It leads to hope of a shakeup in the league for next season with no Buffon in goal for the first time in 24 years.

Nice striker Mario Balotelli, who has been recalled and will play for the first time since Italy’s humiliating group-stage exit at 2014 World Cup, has said he would like to return to play club football in Italy this summer.

Five players from Serie A outsiders have been given a first call-up, including Torino’s Daniele Baselli, Crotone’s Rolando Mandragora, Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi and Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara.

Along with defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani, midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini and strikers Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi are among the promising youngsters who are expected to put Italy back on the road to victory.

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile finished joint top of the Serie A scorers with 29 goals.

‘Change in mentality’

For Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri the Serie A challenge could end this year with his future in doubt, but Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco insists he wants to build on a season where his side finished third, albeit 18 points behind Juventus, and reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Juventus were eliminated by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

“We need to do lots of work and build on what we’ve done. Juventus have won a great deal and not just with Massimiliano Allegri,” said Di Francesco, who believes that Juventus’s rivals lack ambition.

“They have a mentality whereby winning becomes a habit. Roma have always been just slightly behind over the past few years.

“I don’t believe in teams that plump for one competition and that’s it.

“If we want to become a top side, we must always be competitive, rotating the squad where necessary and building on the change in mentality we’ve seen in everyone at Trigoria.

“It’s not easy to find the right remedy. I think Juventus set an example in the way they handle less-important games, with the same approach.”

Allegri’s first season in charge in 2014-2015 saw Juventus finish 17 points ahead of second-placed Roma, the following season Napoli were runners-up nine points adrift. The past two seasons the difference has been just four points on Roma and Napoli respectively.

“When I arrived, the team had finished 24 points off the top. Now, we are four points behind,” said Sarri. “We have not reached the target, but the journey has been fantastic.”

Three-time European champions Inter Milan will return to the Champions League – they were the last Italian team to win it in 2010.

“Qualifying for the Champions League obviously brings with it enthusiasm and economic advantages,” said Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio.

AFP

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Buffon Bids Tearful Farewell To Juventus After 17 Years

Juventus’ goalkeeper from Italy Gianluigi Buffon waves during the victory ceremony following the Italian Serie A last football match of

Buffon Bids Tearful Farewell To Juventus After 17 Years
Juventus’ goalkeeper from Italy Gianluigi Buffon waves during the victory ceremony following the Italian Serie A last football match of the season Juventus versus Verona, on May 19, 2018 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

Italy great Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus on Saturday before tearfully exiting after a 17-year career as storm clouds gathered during a 2-1 win over already-relegated Verona.

Buffon — who had captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph this season — took his final bow midway through the second half before rain came down and thunder rumbled over the Allianz Stadium.

It was the 656th game for the evergreen 40-year-old who arrived in Turin in 2001 from Parma for a then world record 52 million euros fee.

The goalkeeper and captain was substituted by coach Massimiliano Allegri to take an ovation before 40,000 emotional Juventus fans many with their eyes filling with tears.

Juventus were two goals up thanks to Daniele Rugani after 49 minutes and Miralem Pjanic three minutes later when Buffon came off the pitch.

He hugged all his teammates, on the field and on the bench, and then left the sidelines.

Goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio made his Serie A debut between the posts in his place.

Buffon had said he did not want anything special for his final game.

“I want to live this day normally. I ask nothing except what I have already had, esteem, affection and respect. The rest I do not need it. As a child, I did not like birthdays and be in the centre of attention,” Buffon had said.

But there was resounding applause and singing as the goalkeeper and Juventus captain emerged from the locker rooms before his final game.

He was accompanied onto the pitch at the Allianz Stadium by his three children — Louis Thomas and David Lee, with the youngest, Leopoldo, in the arms of his partner Ilaria D’Amico.

“There is only one number 1, there is only one number 1”, they sang in the tribunes before kick-off, as Buffon hugged his teammates one by one.

In the south tribune Juventus fans unfurled a banner: “Only those who try the absurd reach the impossible”.

A giant flag with the image of the goalkeeper covered the stand.

There were messages “17 years with you. Thanks Gigi”, “Gigi Buffon, immortal hero” and “Gigi, Santo Subito”.

Buffon embraced each of his teammates including his successor Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny and new captain Giorgio Chiellini and took his place in between the posts for his final game.

The crowd cheered his every move with his first save made after quarter of an hour against Algerian winger Mohamed Fares.

The moment everyone was waiting for came after 63 minutes as Buffon again hugged every teammate, every member of staff, waved at the crowd until he got to the bench, rested his head back and sighed with eyes closed, before leaving the sidelines.

– ‘Simply the best’ –

Teammates also paid tribute with Sami Khedira tweeting: “It has always been an honour for me to play side to side with a living legend. Glad we can celebrate another Scudetto today!”

“100 games together, 1,040 days, smiles, tears, hugs,” tweeted Paulo Dybala.

“You’ve taught me so much. You are the captain of my successes. I wish you to be happy in the future my captain, I will miss you. Today we must have fun together again.”

After winning the Italian Cup, SuperCup and UEFA Cup with Parma, Buffon went on to claim nine Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and five SuperCups with Juventus, in addition to winning the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

On the pitch Alessio Cerci pulled one back for the Verona after 76 minutes, ending Juventus’s bid for a record 23 games in one season without conceding a goal.

It was also the final game for Ghanian Kwadwo Asamoah and Swiss Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Juventus had wrapped up the Serie A title last Sunday in Rome, but lifted the trophy for the 34th time after the game.

The storm did not stop hundreds of fans, many of whom had gathered outside, lining the route as the open top bus then made its way to the centre of the city.

Despite trailing Napoli for much of the season Juventus ended the campaign with 95 points from 30 wins including 16 at home.

“We fought with Napoli throughout the year, we tip our hats to them, but we were the best,” said Allegri.

“We missed the icing on the cake, which is the Champions League, but we can’t know how it would have ended in extra time against Real Madrid,” he added of a match in which Buffon was controversially sent off.

AFP

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Gianluigi Buffon bids farewell to Juventus in emotional final appearance (photos and videos)

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon this afternoon took to the pitch for the final time in a Juventus jersey, ahead of

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon this afternoon took to the pitch for the final time in a Juventus jersey, ahead of his departure from the club this summer.

Legend

Buffon, now 40, is regarded by many to be the greatest goalkeeper of all-time, with his near-unrivaled combination of lightning-quick reflexes, shot-stopping ability, command of his area and, crucially, longevity, having set the veteran apart from so many of the finest to ever strap on a pair of goalkeeper gloves.

After coming up through the youth ranks at former Italian giants Parma, Buffon eventually broke into the Crociati’s first-team in 1995, as an inexperienced but prodigious teen.

Following 3 years at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, during which he clinched the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup, Buffon made the move to Juventus for a then-world-record 52 million Euro in 2001, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Domestic dominance

Buffon has since gone on to establish himself as undoubtedly the greatest to ever step between the posts over the course of the storied history of the Bianconeri, and has racked up an incredible 11 (9 official) Serie A titles (including the last 7), 1 Serie B, 4 Coppa Italias and 5 Supercoppa Italianas in Turin.

Perhaps the gesture that will stand out the most to fans of the Old Lady will always be the fact that Buffon stayed loyal to the club despite their relegation to the second-tier of Italian football in 2006 following the Calciopoli scandal, despite the Italian legend having had massive offers on the table from some of European football’s other heavyweights.

In total (before today), Buffon has pulled on the Bianconeri jersey on 655 occasions over the last 17 years, keeping exactly 300 clean sheets over that span, and has spent more time on the pitch as a Juventus player than any other in the history of the club.

Confirmation

As such, after the Italian veteran confirmed in a press on Thursday morning that he was set to depart the Allianz Stadium at the end of the season, focus quickly shifted to Buffon’s final game in a Juventus jersey, which came this afternoon versus Hellas Verona.

Ciao Capitano

The fixture took place a short time ago, with Juve having run out 2-1 winners courtesy of goals from Daniele Rugani and Miralem Pjanic, before lifting the Scudetto trophy once again.

However, all eyes were on Buffon, as the Bianconeri hero was substituted in the 60th-minute (with the score at 2-0) to an absolutely rapturous ovation from the Juventus faithful.

There was hardly a dry eye in the stadium as Buffon’s number flashed across the fourth official’s board, with every member of the Juventus XI on the pitch having hugged their captain, before the remainder of the club’s squad and staff formed a guard of honour on the touchline to see Buffon off in a fitting manner.

The 40-year-old then made his way around the entire stadium for a lap of honour, embracing as many Juventini as possible as the tears flowed on both sides of the barriers.

Below are some of the best photos and videos from this afternoon’s events in Turin, as Juventus bid farewell to one of, if not the greatest player to ever pull on the club’s famous black and white colours:

Juventus chief all but confirms Emre Can arrival from Liverpool

Juventus chief all but confirms Emre Can arrival from Liverpool

Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta has this afternoon issued an update on the Bianconeri’s pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can. Reds’

Juventus CEO Beppe Marotta has this afternoon issued an update on the Bianconeri’s pursuit of Liverpool midfielder Emre Can.

Reds’ mainstay

Can, a 24-year-old German international, has been on the books at Anfield since 2014, when he joined from Bayer Leverkusen.

However, his contract with Liverpool is due to expire this summer, and there has so far been little to no progress made towards a new deal.

Bianconeri pursuit

It has long been known that Italian champions Juventus are keen to take Can to Turin, with the Bianconeri having publicly confirmed their interest on numerous occasions.

Fellow suitors

Along with Juve, all of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan have been rumoured to maintain an interest in the services of Can, though the Old Lady have always been viewed as holding a clear lead in the race for his signature.

‘Have to accept it’

Speaking in an interview with DAZN in January, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did little to dampen rumours that his side’s midfield powerhouse looks set for a summer departure from the club, with the German tactician having explained:

‘He’ll stay beyond the winter. Emre is still a young lad but he has developed into a great player and is very important for us.’

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 23: Emre Can of Liverpool celebrates scoring his sides third goal with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs round second leg match between Liverpool FC and 1899 Hoffenheim at Anfield on August 23, 2017 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Bongarts/Getty Images)

‘Sometimes a player just wants to sit out his contract. That’s not cool for the club, but there are moments in which you have to accept it.’

‘And as long as the player behaves like Emre does, then I have absolutely nothing to complain about. He gives everything he has and identifies with the club.’

‘Asking myself’

Subsequent reports stemming from Italy over the last couple of months suggested that Juventus had given Can an ultimatum to give the club his word regarding joining in the summer, but an announcement had hitherto not been forthcoming.

Speaking in an interview with Mediaset Premium last month, Bianconeri CEO Beppe Marotta was asked for an update on the saga as a whole, with the Italian having explained:

‘I am asking myself what the situation is too.’

‘We want the soap opera to conclude in around 10 days. The player is right to evaluate all opportunities, so we’ll wait and see what he wants to do.’

Imminent

However, as per a further update from Marotta this afternoon, Juve look to have taken major strides forward in their pursuit of Can over the last couple of weeks, with the Italian having admitted for the first time that the Old Lady are now ‘confident’ in their chances of securing the German’s signature:

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Gianluigi Buffon pens emotional goodbye statement to Juventus fans

Get the tissues Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has penned an emotional message on his Instagram as he prepares to say

Get the tissues

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has penned an emotional message on his Instagram as he prepares to say goodbye to the club tomorrow.

The Italian goalkeeper has been one of the biggest names in football throughout his 17-year career at the Serie A giants.

Considered the best goalkeeper in world football for a hefty chunk of that time, the player is about to say goodbye to his beloved Juventus.

Gianluigi Buffon post Juventus 1 - Real Madrid 4

(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

The final goodbye

The game against Verona tomorrow will be his last and he has posted an emotional message on his Instagram to say goodbye to his beloved fans.

“Six thousand, one hundred and eleven days. Semilacentoundici moments of pure passion. Of joy, of crying, of defeats and victories.

“Thanks to every one of you, because each of you has helped to make every moment of my life special in black and white. A life that has become a second skin.

“A skin that I have worn, loved and respected. And that I have guarded and protected with all of myself. With all my limitations, but also with all the passion that has always accompanied me.

“With tomorrow, a path ends. End a book we wrote together. The emotion is so great. Too much.

“I arrived at the stadium by bike. I was so young.

“And tomorrow I would like to metaphorically walk away to be able to savour every moment, feel the fatigue of detachment. And the joy of greetings.

“And to understand that I will never be far from that place that I will call “home”. Forever! To greet the companions and friends that I will never stop calling FRATELLI.

“Until the end! Forever yours, Gianluigi Buffon.”

While you would have assumed that the player would be retiring from football, we still don’t know what he is planning to do.

The player has only announced his departure from Juventus and clubs are now lining up for his signature.

Click here to see what he had to say on a potential change of clubs. 

Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon announces departure from club/refuses to rule out Premier League switch

Goalkeeping icon Gianluigi Buffon this morning confirmed in a press conference that he has decided to call time on his

Goalkeeping icon Gianluigi Buffon this morning confirmed in a press conference that he has decided to call time on his Juventus career.

Legend

Buffon, now 40, is regarded by many to be the greatest goalkeeper of all-time, with his near-unrivaled combination of lightning-quick reflexes, shot-stopping ability, command of his area and, crucially, longevity, having set the veteran apart from so many of the finest to ever strap on a pair of goalkeeper gloves.

After coming up through the youth ranks at former Italian giants Parma, Buffon eventually broke into the Crociati’s first-team in 1995, as an inexperienced but prodigious teen.

Following 3 years at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, during which he clinched the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup, Buffon made the move to Juventus for a then-world-record 52 million Euro in 2001, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Domestic dominance

Buffon has since gone on to establish himself as undoubtedly the greatest to ever step between the posts over the course of the storied history of the Bianconeri, and has racked up an incredible 11 Serie A titles (including the last 7), 1 Serie B, 4 Coppa Italias and 5 Supercoppa Italianas in Turin.

Gianluigi Buffon - Juventus FC v US Citta di Palermo - Serie A

TURIN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 17: Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus FC celebrates after his team-mate Gonzalo Higuain scored a goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and US Citta di Palermo at Juventus Stadium on February 17, 2017 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Perhaps the gesture that will stand out the most to fans of the Old Lady will always be the fact that Buffon stayed loyal to the club despite their relegation to the second-tier of Italian football in 2006 following the Calciopoli scandal, despite the Italian legend having had massive offers on the table from some of European football’s other heavyweights.

In total, Buffon has pulled on the Bianconeri jersey on 655 occasions over the last 17 years, keeping exactly 300 clean sheets over that span, and has spent more time on the pitch as a Juventus player than any other in the history of the club.

Azzurri icon

In addition, Buffon’s international career has also been record-breaking, with the Azzurri legend having racked up a staggering 176 caps for his country, a full 40 more than 2nd-placed Fabio Cannavaro on the all-time Italy list.

His undoubted crowning achievement with the Azzurri was of course the country’s 2006 World Cup win, a tournament during which Buffon formed a near-impenetrable defensive unit alongside the likes of Ballon D’Or winner Cannavaro, Gialnluca Zambrotta and the ageless Marco Materazzi.

Buffon and Zidane

BERLIN – JULY 09: Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (2nd L) of Italy consoles Zinedine Zidane (R) of France, as he is shown the red card by Referee Horacio Elizondo of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Final match between Italy and France at the Olympic Stadium on July 9, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Goodbye

However, despite many being of the opinion that Buffon could undoubtedly still prolong his playing days with both Juventus and Italy, the 40-year-old, after much deliberation, confirmed in a press conference this morning that he is set to call time on both his Juventus and international careers imminently.

The 40-year-old spoke with typical class and pose alongside captain-to-be Giorgio Chiellini and some of the club’s other key members of staff in Turin this morning, affirming that his final appearance in a Juventus jersey will come versus Hellas Verona this weekend, a fixture which, fittingly, will also see Buffon lift the Serie A title for the final time.

‘It’s the conclusion of a wonderful journey I’ve been fortunate enough to share with people who truly cared for me. I felt that, day after day, and because of that love I fought and tried to do my best.’

‘Saturday will be my last game with Juventus. I think it’s the best way to end this wonderful adventure, to end it with another two victories, which are truly important, and to end it with the closeness and accompaniment of Andrea and the whole Juventus populace.’

‘My fear was to reach the end of the Juve adventure as someone who people just put up with or a player who had lost it.’

‘I can say that’s not the case and I am truly proud that to the age of 30, up to Saturday, I’ve been able to express not perhaps my best, but performances to the level of my name and of Juventus.’

‘That is the greatest gratification and why I reach this salute as a happy man, because it’s by no means to be taken for granted for a sportsman to reach this point and age performing to this level.’

‘I want to thank the Juventus family. In 2001, they signed an extraordinary talent – I’m probably biased in saying that – but I have to say that if this talent was transformed into a champion, it’s because Juve ensured that happened.’

‘They allowed me to take another step forwards in conviction, mentality and performance. I believe that if I am still here at the age of 40 performing to this level, it is thanks to Juventus, whose approach to work is totally different to everyone else in the world.’

‘I made this philosophy my own too and am sure I’ll use it in future, in my life after football, as it’s the only way I know to reach results and to get there with the joy of having worked hard, driven yourself to the limit and given your all.’

‘Aside from trophies, that is the greatest gift I have received from Juventus and I will forever be grateful.’

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus celebrate victory after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus at Wembley Stadium on March 7, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

‘Proposals and exciting challenges’

Unsurprisingly, Buffon was subsequently questioned on whether or not the announcement of his departure from Juventus means that he has called an end to his playing days as a whole.

However, the Italian veteran refused to confirm as much, revealing that he has received multiple offers to prolong his career on the pitch:

‘Up until 15 days ago, it was certain and well-known that I would stop playing.’

‘Now I have received some proposals and exciting challenges, both on the field and off it. The most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by (Juventus President Andrea) Agnelli.’

‘Over the next three days, full of emotion, I will after two or three days of reflection make a definitive decision. I’ll try to follow whatever calls to my soul and my nature.’

‘A return to Parma is a romantic childhood dream, but nothing more than that, no. I feel great gratitude. I am grateful to feel the club so close to me, my former teammates and everyone.’

‘I am probably a bit dim, but I don’t feel fear. Moderate fear, as is understandable when going into a change of lifestyle and habits, but little more than that.’

‘I live to get out of my comfort zone and test myself in more complicated situations that I don’t know. That’s a way of seeing what you’re made of and I have never been afraid of a challenge – quite the opposite.’

‘It’s about feelings, the importance you can have in a project, the motivation you could have and my physical fitness too. There are many things I need to consider without letting myself get caught up in the moment.’

‘I am certainly not someone who, as I said a while back, thinks it is right to end my career in who knows what third or fourth level division, as I am a competitive animal and I wouldn’t be able to live or feel at ease in that situation.’

Premier League bound?

Buffon was also drawn on the rumours that he could even make a shock switch to England this summer, amid links with Champions League finalists Liverpool:

‘The Premier League? I said that I received a few proposals, very interesting ones, both for on the field and off it. Next week, once everything has calmed down a little bit, I will decide what I think is best for me.’

‘There’s no point now betting on where I could go. If I were to continue, I’d want to challenge for big honours, because that’s what I live for and in a way it’s my limitation too.’

Grazie

Whatever the case may be, on behalf of Juventus fans the world over, best of luck with your future endeavours, and thanks for the countless memories, Gigi.

Ciao capitano.

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According to Sky Sport Italia, Juventus defender Kwadwo Asamoah is set to join Inter Milan upon the expiration of his

According to Sky Sport Italia, Juventus defender Kwadwo Asamoah is set to join Inter Milan upon the expiration of his Bianconeri contract at the end of the season.

Loyal servant

Asamoah, an experienced 29-year-old Ghanaian international, has been on the books of Juventus since joining the club from fellow Serie A outfit Udinese in 2012.

He went on to play a crucial role in the successes of the Old Lady over his first couple of seasons at the club, starting in 22 and 32 of the Serie A champions’ outings in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaigns respectively, and even earning a spot in the Italian top-flight’s team of the year during the latter.

This was after being transformed by then-Juve boss Antonio Conte from a powerful central midfielder to a wing-back, a position which Asamoah has remained in since.

However, injury troubles, coupled with the arrival of Alex Sandro from Porto, have seen Asamoah lose his first-choice spot in Turin over the last couple of campaigns, though he has nevertheless managed to make a respectable 18 starts in the league this season, as the Bianconeri secured a 7th-consecutive Scudetto crown.

Kwadwo Asamoah

Kwadwo Asamoah during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 28, 2017 in Milan, Italy.

On the move

But, despite continuing to act as an extremely important squad player for the Old Lady, the powerful African looks very much set for a departure from the club this summer, with his contract at the Allianz Stadium set to expire at the end of the season (one game remaining in Serie A), and Leonardo Spinazzola set to return from his loan spell with Atalanta.

Galatasaray and Inter Milan have long been named as the leading contenders for his signature, with the former having been close to securing a deal in January, but, after Chelsea failed to reach an agreement with Juve for Alex Sandro last summer, the Blues were then rumoured to have switched their attentions to Asamoah ahead of the opening of this summer’s window, with Antonio Conte having seemingly been keen on a reunion with his former charge.

Serie A stay

And, though Asamoah has since revealed that he is yet to make a final decision on his future, reports in the Italian media today have insisted that the reliable stopper is all set for a move to the San Siro to link up with Inter Milan on a 3-year-deal.

As such, an announcement is expected to be forthcoming following Juventus’ final fixture of the season versus Hellas Verona this weekend.

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