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Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon Hints He'll Keep Playing Beyond This Season

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

GENOA, ITALY - DECEMBER 18: Gianluigi Buffon Juventus goalkeeper gestures during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Juventus at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on December 18, 2019 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)
Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has suggested he'll continue playing beyond the end of the season.

The veteran stopper will turn 42 in January, and his contract with the Bianconeri expires in June.

After setting the record for most Serie A appearances by a Juventus player in their 2-1 win over Sampdoria on Wednesday with 479, Buffon told Sky Sport Italia (h/t Goal's Chris Burton):

"The reason I keep playing is that I can give myself, along with my team-mates and this club, many beautiful emotions that are worth living. ... The thing that most interests me personally, more than the games, is the role I can play that here at Juve with my team-mates, staff and managers. 

" ... With regards to the future, I let life show me the way: at this moment I would do myself an injury if I thought I would stop playing, because I feel I am a point of reference, beyond the games that are played."

In playing on Wednesday, Buffon equalled Paolo Maldini's record for all-time Serie A appearances:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

647 – Gianluigi #Buffon reaches tonight Paolo #Maldini as the player with the most appearances in the Serie A history (647). Epochal. https://t.co/5gl6jH26KF

The Italian isn't Juve's first-choice goalkeeper any more—that honour goes to Wojciech Szczesny, who has missed their last three games with a shoulder problem—but he has made seven league appearances this season.

Juve won't play again in Serie A until January 6, but Buffon only needs to appear once more in the competition this season to hold the record outright.

Buffon isn't quite the goalkeeper he once was. He conceded twice in Juventus' 2-2 draw with Sassuolo earlier on December 1.

He could do little to keep out the first as it was a superb finish, but the latter was an uncharacteristic error:

Premier Sports 📺 @PremierSportsTV

😱 An OUTRAGEOUS goal from Jeremie Boga! 👏 Sassuolo strike back immediately as brilliant buildup play from Boga is more than matched by the dinked finish over Buffon! https://t.co/7lBy2IoxyZ

Premier Sports 📺 @PremierSportsTV

☠ An absolute horror show for Buffon and the Juve defence! ⚽ Sassuolo take a shock 2-1 lead through Caputo https://t.co/I5CfSVKKyV

Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren praised his performance in their 3-1 win over Udinese on Sunday, though:

Gianni Verschueren @ReverschPass

Ronaldo, Higuain and Dybala playing well together, showing the potential of that trident. Buffon turning back the clock yet again. And goodness me, what a week for Demiral. Talk about a breakout. Plenty of positives for Juventus after this win

While he may be past his prime, as far as back-ups go, Juve could be doing much worse than having Buffon in their ranks, so it might not be too surprising if they give him an extension come the end of the season.

If they don't, a player of his experience could still make an excellent addition elsewhere as a No. 1 or a No. 2.