Could Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon Eventually Run U.S. Soccer?

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2015

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon celebrates after his teammate Alvaro Morata scored during the Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match between Real Madrid and Juventus, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is about to play in his second Champions League final, but he's already planning his future after he's retired.

Buffon is interested in staying in soccer, and according to Sam Borden of the New York Times, the World Cup winner would like to run the U.S. men's national team program one day.

"The United States has always been an important reference point for me. I will probably end up there, sooner or later."

Buffon is more interested in the management side of the game as opposed to coaching. In fact, he already has some experience.

The 37-year-old was a shareholder of his local team, Carrarese, who Buffon supported as a child. The club is currently in Lega Pro, the third-tier of the Italian soccer pyramid. 

However, Buffon stepped down as owner at the end of May after a long and difficult spell in charge, per Football Italia:

I’ve found myself alone. Twice in five years I’ve chosen to be part of entrepreneurial enterprises to revive the fortunes of Carrarese. The first group disbanded after two years, leaving me alone. The second, despite promises, has never materialised. On both occasions I found myself alone and with the responsibility of deciding whether to bankrupt the club, or guarantee its future, through the efforts of my family’s company. I’ve always chosen to invest, despite knowing that this would be a choice made because of affection and not business.

Buffon is passion personified. He always belts out his national anthem with pride before every Italy match. The goalkeeper was also noticeably excited after Juve's Champions League semifinal victory over Real Madrid:

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However, in business, emotions can affect major decisions. On the other hand, Carrarese is a club that Buffon has great affection for, so it's understandable for him to constantly invest in the team.

It doesn't look like Buffon is going to swap his gloves for a suit yet, though. Buffon admitted to L'Equipe (h/t Football Italia) that he can play until he's 40. That means he has at least three more years left and potentially another World Cup appearance.

The Italy international participated in his fifth World Cup last summer in Brazil, matching Lothar Matthaus and Antonio Carbajal for the most appearances all-time, per the Canadian Press (via TSN). Playing in a sixth tournament would be a landmark achievement for one of the best goalkeepers in history.

As for the potential move to the U.S., it would benefit both parties if Buffon earned more experience before joining the United States Soccer Federation.

The only question that remains is what role he'd fill. Jurgen Klinsmann is the head coach and technical director until 2018. It's possible that Buffon would be hired as an advisor to help the youth development and the overall structure of U.S. Soccer.

Whether or not Klinsmann will stay on as coach and technical director after 2018 is unknown, but if he leaves, a more-than-suitable replacement could occupy the role.

The official MLS website (via Football Espana) reported that U.S. Soccer wants Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola to coach the national team during the 2022 World Cup.

If Buffon was on the technical staff and Guardiola coached the team, it would be a coup for the USA. However, if the latter decides to test himself in England, per Rob Draper of the Daily Mailit will remain a pipe dream.

Nonetheless, Buffon's interest in U.S. Soccer is certainly a positive and is worth keeping tabs on over the next few years, especially with Guardiola's curiosity as well.

Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.

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