Italy manager Roberto Mancini has claimed that goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has informed him of his plans to continue playing next season, and suggested that this could see him maintain his role in the Italian national side.
According to Football Italia, Buffon was widely expected to hang up his gloves at the end of this season upon the expiration of his contract with Serie A serial winners Juventus, but Mancini has claimed the 40-year-old has other ideas, stating: "I spoke to him [Buffon] on the phone and he explained his intention to me."
"He wants to continue playing, and anyone who plays and is at their best can be called to the national team.
"He told me two days after I became the Italy manager.
"Daniele De Rossi? Every player, both him and Buffon and every player who is in condition could be called, the door isn't closed to anyone. That said, we do have to look to the future."
It is unclear where Buffon will be plying his trade next season, with Paris Saint-Germain believed to be desperate to secure his services for one final campaign of football. The Tuscan born stopper is one of the true greats of the game, having racked up 176 caps for Italy, as well as winning the World Cup and a staggering 11 Serie A titles.
Meanwhile, speculation that Juventus will look to sign Chelsea striker Álvaro Morata has increased significantly, after the Spanish international was reportedly photographed meeting with his agent and I Bianconeri director Fabio Paratici. The 25-year-old had a turbulent season with the Blues after joining from Real Madrid, and could look for an exit as soon as this summer.