Rome, May 17 (IANS) Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced on Thursday that he will be leaving the Italian football club after 17 years, a long career that has seen him become one of the world's most recognizable faces in the sport.

In an emotional press conference, the legendary keeper said that Saturday's Serie A match against Hellas Verona would mark the end of his career with Juventus, reports Efe.

"Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side will be very special," Buffon said.

"Juventus is a family for me and I am honoured to have been a part of it. The club is planning for a victorious future. If one day I am considered someone who can help the cause, Juventus will take priority for me," he added.

Buffon, who participated in 176 games with the Italian national team, said he was not going to participate in any of the national team's games, leaving the floor for the "several young keepers who need to gain experience to grow."

Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli announced that Poland's Wojciech Szczesny would be replacing Buffon in the upcoming season.

"Legends do exist. Approximately 30% of our trophies at Juventus Museum bear your name, Gianluigi Buffon you deserve a huge round of applause," Agnelli added.

Buffon has not yet decided his next step and said he would need to "go through training in order to understand the right path to take and what role to occupy."

--IANS

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