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Football: Buffon to leave Juventus

May 11, 2021 18:54 IST
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The Coppa Italia final against Atalanta on May 19 could be Gianluigi Buffon's final match for the club

IMAGE: The Coppa Italia final against Atalanta on May 19 could be Gianluigi Buffon's final match for the club. Photograph: Juventus FC/Twitter

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says he will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season but could still join another team if he receives a suitable offer.

The 43-year-old first joined the Turin club from Parma in 2001 and has been there ever since, with the exception of one season at French side Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19.

"My future is clear. This year I will definitively end my long and beautiful experience at Juventus," Buffon told beIN Sports.

"I will either retire or find a situation that motivates me, a different experience to take into consideration.

 

"At Juve I have given and received everything. We have reached the end of a cycle and so it is right for me to take my leave."

Considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Buffon has won 10 Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies with Juve, as well as achieving FIFA World Cup glory with Italy in 2006.

Buffon has served as a backup to Pole Wojciech Szczesny since returning from Paris in 2019 and has made 12 appearances in all competitions this season.

The 2020-21 campaign has been one to forget for Juve, who are fifth in Serie A with three games remaining and were knocked out of the Champions League by Porto at the Last-16 stage.

However, Buffon has played every minute of their run to the Coppa Italia final and could make his farewell appearance in the showpiece game against Atalanta on May 19.

Atletico coach Simeone defends VAR for making football fairer

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said football had become fairer thanks to video technology and insisted he was not worried Real Madrid's furore over refereeing decisions could condition the final stretch of the La Liga title race.

Simeone's side were in danger of losing top spot when Real Madrid met Sevilla on Sunday but the game ended 2-2 following a VAR decision which saw a Real penalty overturned and one given for Sevilla instead for an earlier handball.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane and director Emilio Butragueno both expressed their anger at the decision while the fallout has continued in the Spanish media.

"There will always be controversy in a game as dynamic as football. As I've said many times, VAR has made football fairer," Simeone told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's game at home to Real Sociedad.

"Sometimes it will go your way and others it will go against you. Let's forget about referees. Coaches should focus on our task, which is to make sure our teams play better. We're just going to concentrate on our game with Real Sociedad."

Atletico lead second-placed Real Madrid and third-placed Barcelona by two points and know that victories in their last three games against Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Real Valladolid will deliver a first La Liga crown since 2014.

Real Sociedad, who are fifth in the standings and looking to clinch a European berth next season, look like being Atletico's toughest opponents in the run-in.

"They are a team who have picked up big results away from home and who are growing each year. They are a dynamic team who play beautiful football and have many ways of starting attacks. We're expecting a very tough game," Simeone added.

Real Madrid injury nightmare continues as Mendy ruled out for season

Real Madrid's injury crisis dragged on when left back Ferland Mendy was on Tuesday ruled out for the rest of the season with a shin problem, leaving coach Zinedine Zidane without all four of his first-choice defenders.

A medical report published by Real said the Frenchman, Real's first choice left back, had been diagnosed with shin splints.

The report did not state when he would return although newspaper AS said he would be out for three weeks, meaning he will miss Real's final three games in the La Liga title run-in.

Real have published a total of 27 medical reports this season on players who have sustained injuries or tested positive for COVID-19.

They missed the chance to go top of the standings when they drew 2-2 at home to Sevilla on Sunday and they trail leaders Atletico Madrid by two points after 35 games.

Real head to Granada on Thursday and in addition to the absent Mendy, Zidane will be without his two main centre backs Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos plus first-choice right back Dani Carvajal. Second-choice right back Lucas Vazquez is also injured.

Varane could return for their last two games against Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal but the rest are expected to miss the rest of the season.

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Source: REUTERS
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