Buffon set to stay at Juventus

MILAN - Gianluigi Buffon will stay at Juventus next season despite a period of turmoil at the club, the Italy goalkeeper said on Thursday.

The 31-year-old has been linked in the media with a move away after Juve slipped out of the Serie A title race.

He came out five minutes early for the second half of the recent 2-2 draw with Lecce and was clearly in a distressed state following a dressing room row.

"Now I confirm it officially, I will not leave Turin next season and will continue to be the Juventus goalkeeper," Buffon told his official website on Thursday.

"In the last few days I have had two chats to clear things up with (part owner) John Elkann and (chief executive) Jean Claude Blanc. I was not scared that we wouldn't win things next season, but that we wouldn't be able to in three or four.

"From this point of view they made me feel better and I'm now a lot happier."

AC Milan and Manchester City have shown interest in Buffon in the past.

Juve, still rebuilding after their 2006 demotion for match-fixing, are poised to sign Werder Bremen's Brazil playmaker Diego and former defender Fabio Cannavaro from Real Madrid with other new recruits possibly on the way.

Coach Claudio Ranieri has been told by club bosses that his job is safe until the end of the season despite six league games without a win.

Italian media had said one of Bari boss Antonio Conte, AS Roma's Luciano Spalletti and Genoa's Gian Piero Gasperini would definitely replace him in the close season but recent reports have speculated Ranieri may stay on.

Juve are also building a new stadium due to open in 2011.