Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon believes retiring now would rob himself of the “beautiful emotions” that remain ahead in his record-breaking career.
Buffon drew level with Paolo Maldini at the top of Serie A’s list of all-time appearances when he deputised for the injured Wojciech Szczesny in a 2-1 win at Sampdoria on Wednesday.
The match was his 647th in Italy’s top flight and his 479th at that level for Juve, one more than previous club record holder Alessandro Del Piero.
Now 41, Buffon has not been mistake-free since returning from a single-season spell with Paris Saint-Germain.
But the ex-Italy goalkeeper believes he has plenty left to experience and offer in his third decade as a professional.
“The reason why I keep playing is that, together with my team-mates and the club, I can still give myself many beautiful emotions, which are worth living,” Buffon told Sky Sport Italia.
“The thing that interests me most, more than the games I play, is the role I think I can play here at Juve.
“As for the future, I let life show me the way.
“Right now, I would be doing myself wrong if I thought about stopping because I feel like a point of reference regardless of the matches I’m playing.”
Juve clawed their way back to the top of the table with the midweek victory at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, secured courtesy of excellent first-half goals from Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The most important thing was to win and try to finish year at the top, at least in the league,” Buffon said.
Maurizio Sarri’s men meet Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, their final match before the mid-season break.