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Buffon backs Donnarumma for Juventus

Gianluigi Buffon has endorsed Juventus' bid to sign AC Milan star Gianluigi Buffon as the Italy great nears retirement.

Buffon is out of contract at the end of 2018 and the 39-year-old veteran is tipped to hang up his gloves following next year's World Cup in Russia.

The iconic keeper, though, wants to go out on a high after suffering a third Champions League final loss, this time against Real Madrid in Cardiff.

However, Buffon has welcomed the challenge of teenage sensation Donnarumma and Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny – who have been linked with moves to the Serie A champions.

"To me, they seem to be the right choices," the Italy goalkeeper told reporters ahead of Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein.

"Well, I've always been, I believe, a reasonable person who tries to understand the meaning of things. And it is right that Juve try to sign a goalkeeper like him, it is right that our national team has goalkeepers like these, in this case one like Gigio Donnarumma.

"Because in the end you make progress because of your merits, and as I always say a coach has to choose his formation to win the game, and should only think about that. It's right that it works this way," Buffon continued. "This means that for me it's a great incentive, because I know that even if I'm 39 or 40 years old if want to keep a certain prestige, a certain role, I have to work hard.

"The day I don't want to work hard anymore I'll just stay at home, because – inevitably – goalkeepers like Szczesny, like Donnarumma or like [Alex] Meret are regulars. They're number ones, and they are because of their merits, and not because of somebody else's favour.

"I am not eternal and I never thought that I was," Buffon added. "I think of the group, so Juventus and the Nazionale quite rightly have to plan beyond the individual.

"I said in the past that I might not want to be a coach, but perhaps a CT at international level would be less stressful on a daily basis. When I do retire, I'd like to rest a little bit, as it has been a long and intense career."