Gianluigi Buffon explains how he could keep playing after the 2018 World Cup

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Gianluigi Buffon suffered Champions League heartbreak for the third time of his career just a few weeks ago when Real Madrid stormed to a 4-1 victory over Juventus in Cardiff.

Before the game, many had hoped the legendary Italian shot-stopper would finally end his wait for the top prize in European football, having already won virtually everything else the game has to offer.

But it wasn't to be and a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Madrid ensured Zinedine Zidane's side became the first to retain the Champions League.

For Buffon, the likelihood is he might not get a better opportunity to lift the historic trophy.

The 39-year-old has previously already set his sights on retiring after next year's World Cup.

However, he has now revealed he could extend his playing career for another year if Juventus can go one step further in the Champions League next season.

"I'm 99.9 percent certain of retirement," he told Sky Sport 24, as per Goal.

"I'm going to have one final, intense season, rich in big moments, and then it will be time to say enough is enough.

Italy Training Session And Press Conference

"We've just left one small possibility open with the president [Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli].

"That is if we manage to win the Champions League I will carry on playing one more year to try to win the Club World Cup and other trophies."

So Juventus could have even more support when they launch their latest pursuit of the Champions League next season if it means Buffon could play on.

It is going to be a sad day when Buffon does eventually decide to hang up the boots for good, though.

Italy Training Session

Having been frustrating strikers in Turin for over two decades, finding a fitting replacement will not be easy for Juventus.

However, following reports the Old Lady could make a move for Wojciech Szczesny, Buffon has welcomed the extra competition for what could be his final season in football.

“This could be the last year and I would like to be a protagonist, as I have always dreamed of being," he added.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

“I've always been a rational person and I've always looked for the meaning of things. It's right that Juve want Szczesny and that there is a good player like [18-year-old AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi] Donnarumma at the national team.

“For me, it will be a great motivation twice because, although I am 39-40 years, I have to maintain my place. If I no longer want to play, I'll stay at home because Donnarumma and Szczesny are good goalkeepers by merit, not because someone gave them something.”

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