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Italy legend Buffon denies World Cup 2022 rumours and insists he has not set date for retirement

18:04 GMT 09/03/2022
Gianluigi-Buffon
The veteran shot-stopper has moved to close down talk he could be set for an Azzurri comeback

Gianluigi Buffon has poured cold water on the suggestion that he could make a sensational return to the Italy national team, but the Parma goalkeeper says he has no intention of retirement either.

The veteran shot-stopper enjoyed a lengthy international career, but stepped down from the top level ahead of the Azzurri's triumph at Euro 2020 last year.

Yet with Italy's place at World Cup 2022 yet to be assured, rumblings have emerged that the man widely considered the preeminent goalkeeper of his generation could be invited back into the setup.

What has been said?

Quizzed on whether he could make a sensational return to Roberto Mancini's side, Buffon - who was in goal for Italy's World Cup triumph at Germany 2006 - shut down suggestions, pointing to his long absence as key to the reason he will not throw his hat in the ring.

"A place in Qatar? Absolutely not," he told GOAL Italy. "I am not applying because I have not been in the national team for four years.

"Mancini, in my opinion, has made the right assessments and must be respected. He and the work he has done, which he has given us, must be respected. [I have] great satisfaction."

Goalkeeper plays down retirement talk

At 44, Buffon is now playing into his fourth decade as a professional goalkeeper, and continues to deliver the goods in Serie B - but even at his advanced age, he admits he has not considered hanging up his boots yet.

"I have no idea, it's not like I have a deadline or a definitive date," he added. "As long as I perform like this, as long as I'm fine and I have enthusiasm and goals, I will play.

"Then when one of these components is missing I will leave without problems."

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