By 90Min
January 24, 2018

Italy legend Paolo Maldini has said he would be honoured if Gianluigi Buffon surpassed his Serie A appearances record before his illustrious career comes to an end.

Maldini currently holds the record of 647 Serie A appearances, but Buffon is quickly closing in. The Juventus stopper currently has 629 appearances in Italy's top flight to his name; in a career that has spanned over 22 years. 

The current record-holder cannot quite believe that Buffon has been playing for so long, joking with Sky Sport Italia: "Is Buffon really only 40? It's impossible."

However, Buffon will need to extend his career into a 23rd year in order to beat the record. Buffon has just returned from injury, and even if he were to play all remaining games of this season, he would still be one appearance short of Maldini's record.

"Joking aside, he's not yet announced his retirement," said Maldini. "If he didn't beat my record then I'd be happy to keep hold of it, but if he does I would be honoured that it would be him overtaking me.

"He's the greatest goalkeeper of the past 30 years."

Meanwhile, former Juventus and Italy manager Marcello Lippi has urged Buffon not to retire just yet.

"Buffon? He'll do well in whatever he does after football," the former World Cup-winning manager told Radio Rai (via Daily Mail).

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

"We're talking about someone who is able to get those close to him on side and become a leader immediately.

"If I could, I'd tell him to retire when he feels ready because I think that deep down, the appearance record in Serie A could interest him.

"When he has finished playing, he can take a couple of years out, enjoy time with his family, disconnect and think long and hard about what he wants to do."

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