The possible destinations for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon - ranked

There comes a time in every footballer's career where they must make a choice: prolong their stay in the game at the potential expense of their reputation, or call it a day and retire a hero.

That moment has come and gone on at least three separate occasions for Gianluigi Buffon, but now at the grand old age of 43, he is facing another garden of forking paths in his infinite career.

The Juventus legend's contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and with no renewal in sight, he has a decision to make. It appears that he has already made up his mind and wants to continue playing, even if it means the old man leaving the Old Lady.

What's more, he's not content playing cheerleader for another season, and is determined to find a top European club who'll be willing to stick the pensioner between the sticks as their first-choice goalkeeper for the 2021/22 campaign.

Failing that, it may finally be time for Gigi to wave goodbye to the sport he has dominated for 25 years. But which clubs would be mad enough to place their faith in the 43-year-old next year? 90min examines Buffon's limited choices.

7. Atletico Madrid

One of the best in the world | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid boast an amazing record of bringing through up-and-coming goalkeepers in recent years, so I bet their scouting network has probably spotted Mr Buffon at least once over the last two decades.

Jan Oblak is being tipped for a potential transfer out of the Spanish capital, as any world class player would be, and that'd leave a huge gap in Los Rojiblancos' backline.

If the scouts need an extra year to find the next Gordón Bankso, then they could pick out Buffon as a temporary fix. It'd also be great to see the Italian lose his temper alongside Diego Simeone on the touchline.

6. Milan

Donnarumma could leave Milan this summer | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

What has become clear is that Buffon would be willing to make a move within Italy or abroad to land a starting spot, but there are very few elite clubs on the lookout for a new shot-stopper.

One club which may be in need of a new number one is Milan, however, given the uncertainty that surrounds the future of current star Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The 22-year-old's contract expires at the end of the season, and I Rossoneri are struggling to agree terms with ruthless super-agent Mino Raiola. So, could Buffon be a suitable stop-gap until Milan find a proper Donnarumma replacement? Crazier things have happened...

5. Borussia Dortmund

Not a convincing shot-stopper | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Money could be tight at Borussia Dortmund this summer, especially if they miss out on Champions League qualification. On top of this, they are seriously lacking in the goalkeeping department.

Soooo, Buffon on a free transfer would be an ideal short-term solution, and if they are able to keep hold of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho (big 'if'), it would hand him a (semi) realistic chance of winning the big European trophy.

Plus, he'd then be able to voice his pick of a future Ballon d'Or winner from Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Haaland, having played with all three. A nice anecdote to add to his autobiography, perhaps.

4. Porto

Casillas ended his career at Porto | VI-Images/Getty Images

This could be a legitimate option for Buffon. There have been rumours linking him with a move to Porto, who would consider rekindling their love affair with old, legendary goalkeepers.

The Portuguese outfit gave Real Madrid hero Iker Casillas a nice home to see out his career, and they are aware of the boost Buffon would bring to their reputation.

Signing a 43-year-old goalkeeper is extremely different to their decision to welcome Casillas in 2015 however, given that the Spaniard isn't even 40 and he retired last year. Bit of cold water to throw on this one, methinks.

3. Everton

The Italian connection | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

There's something about Everton and their growing interest in Serie A stars that makes this believable. Carlo Ancelotti is a huge pull for top players, and the signings of Allan and James Rodriguez testify to his aura.

Kalidou Kouilbaly is also being rumoured for a move to Goodison Park, so it's not out of the realms of possibility that the Toffees would sign Buffon as a replacement for the consistently inconsistent Jordan Pickford.

It's almost hard to believe that Serie A stalwart Gonzalo Higuain never landed on Merseyside, isn't it?

2. Inter Miami

From Jack Butland to Gianluigi Buffon | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Isn't this the dictionary definition of a lovely old job? What does a defence consisting of Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Gibbs need behind them? That's right - big Buffon.

He'd be on a fair old whack, and could then dream of winning the Champions League once more...well, the CONCACAF Champions League, anyway.

And he can hang out with David Beckham, Phil Neville and the Higuain brothers. What more could a man desire?

1. Parma

Bring back the frosted tips! | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

If Buffon has fully given up on his lifelong ambition of winning the Champions League, then how about making a romantic return to his roots?

The iconic goalkeeper made his name as part of that exciting Parma team in the late 1990s, but I Crociati now find themselves in serious danger of getting relegated back to Serie B.

If Gigi believed in fairytale endings, he'd join Parma on a free transfer, play for nothing, and carry them to promotion back to Serie A - then knowing Buffon, he'd stay a season too long, get relegated and end on a low. Still, most of that sounds like a dream come true.

Source : 90min