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Gianluigi Buffon: I Nearly Left Juventus

Iconic goalkeeper admits he nearly left Italian champions.

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Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that he came close to leaving the club in 2011 but was talked into staying by coach Antonio Conte, Sky Sports reports.

The veteran goalkeeper hade just completed a decade of service to the Turin giants, but his season had ended with injury and a serious dip in form, which prompted him to give serious consideration to continuing his career elsewhere.

However, he also admitted that it was the then incoming coach Antonio Conte that talking him into sticking around and he is now as committed to the cause as he has ever been.

The 35-year-old World Cup winner told Gazzetta dello Sport on where his mind was at in May 2011: “The phone rang and it was Antonio Conte. I expected it. He told me important things.

“In the previous season, the first of president Andrea Agnelli, in the first half of the season I didn’t play due to injury and in the second half I wasn’t very good.

“My mind was elsewhere. I thought it might be the moment to change, to quit Juve.

“I met the new officials and they changed my mind. That phone call was so important and from that moment on I’ve been a Juve fan even more than I was before.”

Buffon is now targeting European success after he believes that the club have enough about them to compete at both domestic and international levels.

He added: “Juve are competitive, but that is not enough. You also need luck in the draws.

“There are three or four teams who are favourites, but we will do our best and try to represent Italian football well.”

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