Legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon set to play final Juventus game

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Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will play his last game for Juventus on Saturday – but he admits he is considering some “interesting proposals” to extend his career on the pitch.

The 40-year-old, who has been capped 176 times by Italy, captained Juve to a seventh successive Serie A title and to Coppa Italia glory this season, and was expected to announce his retirement this week.

Former Parma keeper Buffon has confirmed he will make his 640th and last Serie A appearance when the champions host Hellas Verona on Saturday but – at a press conference held on Thursday morning – he confessed that recent offers for him to play on elsewhere have piqued his interest.

Speaking to juventus.com, he said: “Saturday will be my last match with Juventus and I do believe it will be the most beautiful thing to end my adventure this way.

“What will I do next? For now I only know that I will play a game on Saturday. Until a few days ago it was certain that I would stop playing. Interesting proposals have now arrived.

“Playing on in Italy? No, don’t talk about that.”

Sitting alongside him, club president Andrea Agnelli said: “Buffon has received many proposals, and he knows that he has my full support whatever choice he makes. I can only say thank you to him.”

At the age of 23 Buffon joined Juve from Parma in July 2001. He has won nine Serie A titles, and a further two were stripped from the club due to the ‘Calciopoli’ scandal.

He was a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006 and led the public soul-searching when the Azzurri failed to qualify for this summer’s tournament in Russia.

Buffon continued: “If I feel as strong as I do at the age of 40, that is all thanks to Juventus and the mentality here.

“My own philosophy is built around that of the club and I shall continue to live my life in that way, as that’s the only way I know to achieve results.

“I’m proud to have played to the best of my ability right up until now, with performances which befit both myself and this club.

“I make this decision in a calm and happy state of mind, which is not to be taken for granted for a sportsperson.”

Agnelli said that Wojciech Szczesny, the former Arsenal keeper, will become Juve’s new number one.

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Juventus optimistic Massimiliano Allegri will stay, not move to Arsenal

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Juventus are optimistic of keeping hold of coach Massimiliano Allegri as rumours he will replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal cool.

The 50-year-old led Juve to a fourth-successive Serie A and Coppa Italia double this season and has been heavily linked with replacing Wenger at Emirates Stadium.

Allegri’s name emerged as one of the frontrunners following Arsenal’s announcement last month that Wenger would step down after 22 years in charge.

After delivering a seventh straight title for Juventus, Allegri said over the weekend: “If they don’t fire me, then I think I’m staying at Juventus next year, too.”

The club also seem keen to keep the former AC Milan boss in place, with Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta insisting there is a “willingness” for Allegri to stay put.

“On our side there is great optimism,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Beyond just the formal aspects, the relationship between us has worked as well as possible and I think on both sides there is certainly a willingness to continue together.

“We are going to have a meeting with him in the next few days. The manager demonstrated that he is great and I think our relationship can go on.”

Mikel Arteta looks on

With Allegri seemingly dropping out of the race to replace Wenger, who oversaw victory at Huddersfield in his 1,235th and last game at the helm on Sunday, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has become favourite with several bookmakers.

The 36-year-old has spent two seasons working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City having played for the Gunners for five years before hanging up his boots in 2016.

Guardiola said on Sunday he would like to continue working with Arteta but would not stand in his way should Arsenal come calling.

“If he stays I will be the happiest guy in the world and if he decides to move because he has this offer, this option, I will not say you do not have to go,” the City boss said.

Someone in a similar position to Arteta is Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-term assistant who will leave Manchester United at the end of the season.

Like Arteta, Faria has no previous managerial experience but Mourinho believes he is ready to make the step up.

Rui Faria (C

Asked earlier this month if he felt Faria would be a good appointment for Arsenal, the United boss said: “I think so, yes. I don’t know (if he wants to be a manager). You ask me if I think it would be a good fit and I say ‘yes’.”

Other contenders such as Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers, former Arsenal captain and current head coach of New York City Patrick Vieira and ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti are all viable options for Arsenal.

Whoever comes in has a huge void to fill following Wenger’s lengthy reign, which concluded with a 1-0 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The 68-year-old was afforded a guard of honour and saw all four corners of the stadium rise of 22 minutes to applaud his achievements.

January recruit and club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the game’s only goal before admitting he was expecting Wenger to remain in place for much longer.

“I thought he would be at Arsenal for years,” the Gabon striker said after the game.

“But this is for life. This is football. Sometimes you never know. But I was happy to play for him.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Allegri warns of continued Juventus dominance as Old Lady secure Serie A title

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Juventus celebrate at the Stadio Olimpico.

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