JOHANNESBURG - Gianluigi Buffon will undergo surgery on his troublesome back and hopes to return to action in around three months, the Italy and Juventus goalkeeper said on Thursday after the Azzurri's shock World Cup exit.
Buffon suffered a herniated disc in the opening 1-1 World Cup draw with Paraguay, the latest in a series of back problems, and missed the 1-1 draw with New Zealand and Thursday's 3-2 defeat by Slovakia in their final Group F game.
"I have decided to undergo surgery. I should have done it three years ago but I didn't for altruism, for responsibility towards the club," he told Rai TV.
"Now I want to take two, three months to return to fitness and restart. This is the moment to think about yourself."
Juve signed keeper Marco Storari from AC Milan on Wednesday.
Buffon, 32, said the World Cup flop was "our fault" but did not comment on his own international future with Fabio Cannavaro and Gennaro Gattuso now quitting the national team.
"If you can't win it is right to go home," he added.