Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon opened up about his return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday and explained that his childhood dream of being a professional footballer is what's stopping him from retiring.
The veteran keeper spoke to the club's official TV channel (h/t Football Italia), revealing he kept in touch with the Bianconeri during his one season in Paris:
"The return to Juve was natural, in the end I had a wonderful year in Paris and I must say that I needed it to detoxify myself.
"However it's clear that the contact with Juve was always there, with the President, with Fabio Paratici, and old friends. I played a season abroad without cutting the umbilical cord.
"I don't know what will happen next year, it is true that two years ago I practically retired and then what happened, happened.
"Why am I not retiring? Because I feel fine, and I want to respect the dreams I had when I was a small boy.
"At that age I would've been thrilled had they told me that I would become a Serie C goalkeeper."
He also said he was a Juventus fan until the age of seven, when he went through a host of favourite clubs. He was previously believed to be a lifelong Genoa fan, but it turns out that's not the case:
"Do you want a revelation? Which I have never said as I didn't want to look the part of a company man? As a child, up to the age of seven, I was a Juventus fan.
"But I fell in love with Giovanni Trapattoni and when he went to Inter [in 1986], I hesitated because my love for his character was such that I then supported Inter.
"Then I started to cheer for Pescara, Como, Avellino, Campobasso, and then from 12 years old, I started supporting Genoa."
Buffon became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he joined the Old Lady from Parma in 2001, and he stayed with the club for nearly two decades, including during a stint in Serie B after the Calciopoli scandal.
He left Italy for Paris in 2018 but returned to Turin to back up Wojciech Szczesny, refusing both the No. 1 shirt and captain's armband.
Even now, he remains an effective stopper capable of making amazing saves:
With seven Serie A starts this season, the 2006 FIFA World Cup winner has proved to be a vital cog in the Juventus machine. And as he has shown no signs of slowing down, speculation he could keep playing even longer has only increased.
It's a remarkable turnaround given Buffon looked ready to retire prior to his move to Paris and his play in the French capital was well below expectations. He started only 17 Ligue 1 matches and was not the upgrade on Alphonse Areola the club had hoped for. They ended up signing Keylor Navas in the summer.
Buffon did pick up a thing or two during his time in Paris, as demonstrated in this short video with team-mate Adrien Rabiot:
The Italian has remained retired from the national team after a brief return in 2018, and he doesn't seem likely to play for the Azzurri again.