Gianluigi Buffon has quashed suggestions that he could be ready to retire from professional football, claiming he is only thinking about bringing renewed success to Juventus.
The 34-year-old's comments coincide with the Old Lady's return to the Champions League next season, following a two-year hiatus from Europe's premier club competition.
"I haven't considered retiring. The only thing on my mind today is football," affirmed Buffon to assembled reporters at a press conference in China, where Juventus is due to play Napoli for the Italian Super Cup on Saturday. "We've retained a great squad from last season, and the club's work in the transfer market will make us even stronger for our Champions League return. No matter who the opponent might be, we will always aim to win."
The 2006 World Cup winner also spoke about his role in Italy's national setup, taking time to praise enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli as well as Spanish counterpart and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
"It is a little early to talk about playing for Italy in the 2014 World Cup, but I will always carry the desire to play for the Azzurri," he said. "Balotelli had a great Euro 2012, and his performances will certainly help him grow into an even more mature and complete player.
"Casillas is a great player, an excellent keeper and a man with sportsmanship, irregardless of whether he is better than I am."
Buffon captained Cesare Prandelli's men to the final of the European finals in Kiev, only to see his side crumble at the final hurdle, capitulating 4-0 to Spain.
Follow GOAL.COM USA on Twitter
- Champions League
- Mario Balotelli