Juventus mark Buffon's last match, raise Serie A trophy
TURIN, Italy (AP):
It was a day of celebration but also of tears as Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon played his last match for the Bianconeri after 17 years at the club.
Juventus beat already-relegated Hellas Verona 2-1 in the final round of Serie A yesterday, an hors d'oeuvre to the main course that was bidding an emotional farewell to Buffon and receiving the league trophy for a record-extending seventh successive time.
Buffon, widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers ever, announced on Thursday that he was leaving Juventus although the 40-year-old World Cup winner has put off retirement to consider offers to play overseas.
"Today, it was right that Gigi Buffon was honoured for all he has done. There was no better way to finish this year," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, who has worked with Buffon since joining the club in 2014.
"I was moved for him. In these four years, I have seen him do impressive things and he deserved a goodbye like this. There was a wonderful atmosphere."
Buffon was last on to the podium after the match to lift the Serie A trophy as fans and teammates alike chanted his name and applauded.
The tributes - and the tears - started even before kickoff.
Buffon ran out for the warm-up first as defender Andrea Barzagli held back his teammates for a few seconds to let the 'keeper enjoy the reception on his own.