AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma shown in action during a Serie A match last year. Daniele Mascolo / ANSA / AP
AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma shown in action during a Serie A match last year. Daniele Mascolo / ANSA / AP

As Buffon sees Italy end in sight, AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma waits in the wings



AC Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma moved a virtual step closer to taking over as Italy's No 1 goalkeeper after Azzurri legend Gianluigi Buffon said he is likely to retire in 2018.

Juventus shot-stopper Buffon earned his 167th cap in a goalless friendly with Germany last month – when Donnarumma played the second half to make his second Italy appearance – to pull level with retired Spain legend and fellow goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Buffon is now just 17 caps behind world record-holder Ahmed Hassan of Egpyt (184), a tally he may just overtake depending on how Italy fare at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

In comments to Premium Sport, Buffon said: “My idea is to leave football as a player after the 2018 World Cup. I’m pretty sure of it.”

Buffon said there was “only a remote possibility” he could extend his long and storied career beyond that date.

Given the emergence of Donnarumma, a 17-year-old who pushed Diego Lopez aside at AC Milan last season to become the seven-time European champions’ No 1 between the sticks, Buffon’s announcement comes as little surprise.

He was largely expected to retire from the game after the 2018 World Cup, where Donnarumma – now in his second season in Serie A – could showcase his skills to a global audience.

Buffon recently had his third child and last month hinted he could go on to coach Italy.

"A coaching role and all that it entails on a daily basis wouldn't appeal to me," Buffon said in an interview with Corriere della Sera.

“But I wouldn’t exclude a national team coaching role: I would still be involved in the game but have some freedom to dedicate myself to other things.”

Having won almost all of club and international football’s goalkeeping awards and played a crucial role in Italy’s 2006 World Cup triumph, the only trophy missing from Buffon’s cabinet is the Champions League title.

Juve came close to a third title in 2015 only to be outclassed 3-1 in Berlin by Barcelona.

Juventus face Porto in the last 16 of the competition in February looking to qualify for their second quarter-final in three years having been ousted from the knockout phase by Bayern Munich.

Earlier in the campaign Buffon saved a penalty in a precious 1-0 win at Lyon and although he had harsh words for his teammates afterwards, he seems resigned to his fate whatever it may be.

“I believe in meritocracy, so if I deserve to win (the Champions League) I will. Otherwise, I won’t.”

*Agence France-Presse

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Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
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Investment stage: Pre-seed
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Should late investors consider cryptocurrencies?

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Global institutions: BlackRock and KKR

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COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
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1 Sam Bennett (IRL) Deceuninck-QuickStep - 4:51:51

2 David Dekker (NED) Team Jumbo-Visma

3 Caleb Ewan (AUS) Lotto Soudal 

4 Elia Viviani (ITA) Cofidis

5 Matteo Moschetti (ITA) Trek-Segafredo

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2 Adam Yates (GBR) Teamn Ineos Grenadiers - 0:00:43

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Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

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The Baghdad Clock

Shahad Al Rawi, Oneworld

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
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BUNDESLIGA FIXTURES

Friday Stuttgart v Cologne (Kick-off 10.30pm UAE)

Saturday RB Leipzig v Hertha Berlin (5.30pm)

Mainz v Borussia Monchengladbach (5.30pm)

Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt (5.30pm)

Union Berlin v SC Freiburg (5.30pm)

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke (5.30pm)

Sunday Wolfsburg v Arminia (6.30pm)

Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim (9pm)

Bayer Leverkusen v Augsburg (11.30pm)

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Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Stars: Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff

Rating: 4/5 

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Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
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Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

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THE 12 BREAKAWAY CLUBS

England

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Italy
AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus

Spain
Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid

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UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
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3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

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5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

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Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
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