Gianluigi Buffon Retirement? Soccer Legend to Leave Juventus After 17 Years

Gianluigi Buffon during the Italian Tim Cup final between Juventus and AC Milan at the Olympic stadium on May 9, 2018 in Rome. Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Gianluigi Buffon's stellar domestic career will come to an end this weekend, after the Juventus and Italy star announced he will leave the Serie A champions.

In a press conference early on Thursday morning, Buffon revealed he will leave the Juventus Stadium following a trophy-laden 17 years with La Vecchia Signora.

"It gives me great pleasure that so many people have come out to see me," he told reporters.

"My principles have always been honesty, loyalty and to fight against hypocrisy.

"I'm very emotional, but I arrive today with happiness and fulfillment. I always tried to do my best."

On Saturday, Buffon will lift his ninth Italian title when Juventus host already relegated Verona in what will be his final appearance for the club.

The goalkeeper has won 11 league titles with Juventus – including the last seven in a row – but the 2004 and 2005 titles were later revoked because of the club's role in a match-fixing scandal.

"Fifteen days ago, I was already an ex-player," he added.

"Now I'm not sure any more. Proposals have arrived for some new challenges on and off the pitch. The most important off the pitch is from Juventus."

The 40-year-old won the 2006 World Cup with Italy and is one of only three players, along with Germany's Lothar Matthaus and Mexico's Antonio Carbajal, to have been named in the squad at five different World Cups.

Unlike Matthaus and Carbajal, however, Buffon has only played in four tournaments as he did not feature during the 1998 World Cup.

Buffon made his professional debut with Parma in 1995, aged just 17 years and 295 days, and immediately emerged as one of the most promising goalkeepers in the world.

In 2001, he joined Juventus for $31.4 million—a world-record fee for a goalkeeper until Ederson moved to Manchester City for $47 million last summer—and went on to play 655 times for the Serie A giants.

Buffon remained with the club even after they were relegated to second tier in 2006 in the wake of the match-fixing scandal. Widely considered one of the greatest goalkeeper of all times, Buffo holds the record for most consecutive clean sheets in Serie A and with the Italy national team, who has represented a record 176 times.

The Italian's trophy cabinet also counts one UEFA Cup, five Italian Cups and six Italian Super Cups—four and five of which were won with Juventus—but the Champions League has always eluded him,

Buffon reached the final three times, losing to AC Milan in 2003, Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017.

The soon-to-be former Juventus player has ruled out playing for another Italian club and said he does not want to play in a "minor league."