There were rumors that Gianluigi Buffon might retire from Italy after Euro 2016. Those rumors were wrong. The 38-year-old goalkeeper said he was ready to continue on playing for his country after Italy’s quarterfinal loss to Germany.
"Personally, I’m fine," said Buffon. "I still get fired up by these games and I feel that I’ve still got something to give to this squad."
Now Buffon will set his sights on the 2018 World Cup, where he would make history. If he makes the Azzurri’s team for Russia, he will become the first player to ever make it to six World Cups.
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Buffon was the backup at the 1998 World Cup, then was the team’s starter in the last five. That includes the 2006 World Cup, where he was in goal as Italy were crowned champions.
It won’t be easy for Buffon to keep his spot for the 2018 World Cup. He’s still a good goalkeeper and the team’s captain, but there’s no doubt that he’s lost a bit with age and he will be 40 years old in come Russia. He will also be pushed by Mattia Perin, the sensational young goalkeeper who should make his case for the starting job once he returns from injury. But Buffon will still have the edge in experience and leadership as he tries to make World Cup history.