Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon has issued a heartfelt goodbye message on his official social media accounts ahead of his last ever game with Juventus.
The 40-year-old moved to Turin as an academy graduate of Parma Calcio - who have just been promoted back to the Serie A - for over €50m in 2001.
After 17 years at the club, where he has won countless trophies with the Bianconeri and has earned a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, Buffon confirmed on Thursday that he will be leaving Juventus at the end of the season.
"I want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you," Buffon wrote on his official Facebook page. "Each one of you has helped making special every second of my black and white life.
"And that life became my second skin. A skin that I’ve worn, loved and honoured. The one I’ve cherished and protected with all of my heart, with all of my limits but, above all, with all of the passion that I’ve always had."
Whatever the reason, whose decision, the motivation, the circumstances, I think it’s safe to say vast majority of reasonable people would agree would have been better for all involved to see Buffon retire as a Juventino like Totti did at Roma, Maldini at Milan & Zanetti at Inter— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) May 19, 2018
Buffon will make his final appearance for Juventus in a home match against Hellas Verona on Saturday.
But with a seventh straight Scudetto already in the bag, and with the travelling Verona already relegated, all the focus on matchday 38 will be on giving the veteran shot-stopper the send-off which he deserves.
"The first time I came to the stadium, I arrived by bike. I was very young," he continued. "Tomorrow I’d like to - metaphorically - walk away, in order to taste every single moment without feeling the hardness of parting.
"I’d like to enjoy every goodbye. To savour every emotion. To realize that I’ll always be close to the place I consider my 'home'."