“Until about two weeks ago, I was certain I would stop playing. Now offers have arrived that are exciting on and off the pitch and the most important for staying on the pitch was proposed to me by Andrea Agnelli (Juventus chairman). I’ll let these three days pass and then I will make a definitive decision, completely calmly.”
He still has a competitive streak and doesn’t want to play out his remaining years in a lesser league: “A return to Parma is a romantic childhood dream, but nothing more than that. I’m not the kind of person who would like to end his career in just any old lower level league because I’m a competitive animal and I couldn’t cope in such a context.”
If reports are to be believed then he has a pick of some of the best teams across the globe. The 40-year-old stopper has been widely linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and River Plate.
But it’s the one suggesting he is a Liverpool transfer target which is the most intriguing.
Our friends at Football Whispers dissect why a move to Merseyside might be the best career choice for the 2006 World Cup winner.
He said it himself, he’s a competitive animal. Sitting on the bench and collecting a wage doesn’t match up with that. Furthermore, how tested would he really be playing in a team littered with stars in a league that’s lacking credible challengers?
PSG coasted to the Ligue 1 title and they’re only going to improve this summer with Thomas Tuchel set to revamp the side as they search for Champions League glory. A long-term goalkeeper is needed at the Parc des Princes, with Gigi Donnarumma being touted as the future No.1 in the French capital, and Buffon doesn’t appear to fit that bill, no matter how good he still is.
It’s a similar story in Madrid. Firstly, Los Blancos are serial winners. Zinedine Zidane’s men may have struggled domestically this season but they are just three points off second with a game still to be played and they face Liverpool in their third successive Champions League final next weekend.
The La Liga side, according to reports, have eyes on a new custodian to keep goal for the next five to ten years. David de Gea, Jan Oblak, Alisson and Thibaut Courtois are all targets in moves which would relegate Keylor Navas to a place on the bench.
All four are world class in their own right, so how much could they really learn from Buffon at this stage in their careers?
But a move to Anfield presents him with an ideal opportunity. He could play a key role in Jurgen Klopp’s project with the German looking to rebuild the Liverpool dynasty.
Competition is fierce in the Premier League with six clubs battling it out for a place in the top four. Players have to be at their optimal level at all times and it keeps them on their toes. It’s an environment which would keep 40-year-old Buffon feeling young.
Furthermore, the Reds are in the market for a new stopper. Jack Butland and Alisson have been mooted as potential options by the media. The latter, however, looks likely to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Butland appears to be at a similar level to Loris Karius, both are the same age and the duo need to be playing regularly to fulfil their potential. It would make little sense to sign the Stoke City keeper if Liverpool’s current No.1 is sticking around.
A more experienced head, to help the still raw Karius develop, might be the best approach this summer. And Buffon isn’t the first keeper closer to 50 than 20 Liverpool have been linked with.
Reports suggested Pepe Reina was set for a return to Merseyside but he now looks likely to join AC Milan while the Portuguese press suggested Iker Casillas was a Liverpool transfer target.
Is it simply lazy journalism, with the Reds likely to be in the market for a back-up with summer with Simon Mignolet set to be sold, or is Klopp looking to sign a mentor for Karius?
If it’s the latter then Buffon and Liverpool could be the perfect marriage. Not only will he be part of a highly competitive squad looking capable of challenging on all fronts, it would give the nine-time Serie A winner an opportunity to extend his legacy by passing on his knowledge and wisdom to Karius, something that will only improve the 24-year-old.