Gianluigi Buffon is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Of course, at 39 years of age, he is nowhere near in his prime. Despite his age, the Juventus captain is still a great keeper. What I want to look at, is whether it's time for Gigi Buffon to end such a prestigious career at a currently failing Juventus.
What it would mean for Juventus
Juventus are a huge team, the modern giants of Italy, but, I feel, they aren't quite living up to that stupendous title. Currently sitting in 3rd, despite being only 2 points off 1st place, I still don't think they are living up to expectations. Considering the players they have in the squad, they should be dominating a league so tight at the moment.
Since 2001, Buffon has made 498 apps as a Juve player and has helped his team achieve so much and his loss would cause a massive blow to their team. In terms of replacements, Juventus would need to fork out a large sum of money for the right man; backup goalkeeper, Norberto Neto wouldn't be a bad temporary keeper but there's one man that I feel could fill the gap: Gigio Donnarumma.
Yes, you know who he is, the young wonder-keeper has so much potential but can yet already play the part as an outstanding 1st team goalkeeper. This brilliant video from 'colo99' shows just how special this 18-year-old boy is.
Donnaruma, who plays for rivals AC Milan has a £88m release clause, which I would think is fair, considering that number will grow rapidly in the near future but Juventus should act quickly, as PSG are currently in talks to sign the future 'best goalkeeper'. With the money Paris has got, what they say, goes.
What it would mean for Gigi
Really, he would have finished an outstanding career at the club (after already retiring from national team football) and with a whack load of cash in his pocket. Buffon says he WILL retire at the end of this season UNLESS Juventus win the Champions League. They aren't exactly favourited to win the UCL but did make it to last years final against Real Madrid.
What I think
In my opinion, it's time to give the gloves up, he's done so well as a keeper and the time is right to end it at the season, regardless of his club's results. Tell me your opinions by tweeting me @samjsneddon.
by Sam Sneddon (Twitter @samjsneddon)