Buffon shrugs aside Man United rumours

Italian goalkeeping stalwart Gianluigi Buffon has extinguished any talk of him joining Manchester United after he failed to show up for Juventus’ official team photograph last week, sparking fresh rumours of a move abroad.

With Buffon currently out with a back injury sustained during his first game at the 2010 World Cup, there have been increasing reports that his relationship with the Turin side has deteriorated over the past few months.

Old Trafford supremo Sir Alex Ferguson continues to be linked with shot-stoppers to replace Dutchman Edwin van der Sar, who is expected to quit the Red Devils at the end of the current campaign.

But speculation about his future is something that 2006 World Cup winner Buffon has had to get used to over the past few years.

"Manchester United? I am used to living with these rumours, people have been speaking about this for six years now, but nothing has happened," he told Tuttosport.

Juventus are currently fourth in Serie A, six points behind league-leaders AC Milan, and Buffon feels that ‘The Old Lady’ has plenty of life left in her.

"A strong team is being born, things are always getting better, we are on the right track."

Juventus have moved to clear up the issue of Buffon’s absence from the team photo, commenting that the stopper was attending an important medical check-up.

It is hoped that Juve’s vice-captain should be back in the New Year, sentiments that Buffon echoes.

"When will I be back? Everything is going as we had imagined, and so I should return in January," he said.

Buffon joins Rangers No.1 Alan McGregor, Schalke's Manuel Neuer and Atletico Madrid custodian David de Gea as potential successors to Van der Sar at Old Trafford.

Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard of Aalesunds FK has also been tipped to join the Red Devils, with Eric Steele, Manchester United’s goalkeeping coach, believed to have watched him in action on multiple occasions.

By Vithushan Ehantharajah