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Soccer: Gianluigi Buffon returns to Juventus

Italian goalkeeper Buffon returns to Juventus Turin, Italy - 04 Jul 2019
Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon meets the crowds as he arrives for medical examinations at Juventus Medical Center in Turin, Italy,
(Alessandro Di Marco / EPA-EFE / REX)

Gianluigi Buffon is back at Juventus. The longtime Bianconeri goalkeeper signed a one-year contract with Juventus on Thursday, with the deal reportedly worth $1.7 million.

It’s a return for the 41-year-old Buffon after one season away at Paris Saint-Germain.

Buffon signed autographs for fans outside the Juventus’ training facility before he went inside for medical tests.

Buffon is expected to serve as the reserve goalkeeper behind starter Wojciech Szczesny. He needs eight appearances to overtake former AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini as the most capped player in Serie A history. Buffon has 640 appearances in the Italian league.

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After this season, Buffon is expected to become a member of Juventus’ management.

A year ago, Buffon joined PSG from Juventus on a one-season deal with an option for a second year. It was announced a month ago that PSG and Buffon had decided not to take up the option.

Buffon played 25 times for PSG, sharing duties with Alphonse Areola, and won the French league to add to his multiple titles.

Buffon spent 17 years at Juventus after joining from Parma in 2001 and established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He won nine Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, including four successive league and cup doubles.

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Buffon also made a record 176 international appearances for Italy, helping the Azzurri win the 2006 World Cup.

One of the few trophies missing from Buffon’s glittering collection is the Champions League. He lost three finals in that competition with Juventus.

In other soccer news on Thursday:

— Former Bayern Munich and Netherlands forward Arjen Robben has announced his retirement from soccer. The 35-year-old revealed his decision in a statement. He played 309 games for Bayern, contributing 144 goals. Robben made 96 appearances for the Dutch team before his international retirement in 2017, leading the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final.

— Manchester City completed the signing of Spain midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid for $79 million, while Leicester spent a reported $37 million to bring in Ayoze Perez from Newcastle on Thursday. The fee for the 23-year-old Rodri, who is viewed as the long-term replacement for Fernandinho, is close to the club-record fee of 60 million pounds (then $80 million) that City paid Leicester for winger Riyad Mahrez last offseason.

— Frank Lampard has returned to Chelsea as the club’s 12th manager in 16 years under Roman Abramovich’s ownership. The former Chelsea midfielder has left second-tier club Derby where he came close to securing promotion to the Premier League in his first season in management. Lampard is Chelsea’s record scorer with 211 goals and one of its all-time greats. He replaces Maurizio Sarri.

— FIFA has denounced “ill-informed and unjustified” criticism of its president, Gianni Infantino, after the coach of the Afghanistan women’s national team said she was “disgusted” with him over the handling of sexual abuse investigations. At a news conference in Lyon ahead of the Women’s World Cup final, coach Kelly Lindsey demanded his departure from FIFA for allegedly not being rigorous enough in pursuing officials in the Afghanistan soccer federation. The U.S. plays Netherlands in the final.


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