Wojciech Szczesny says he hopes Gianluigi Buffon will play on for a further season, even if it would delay his promotion to becoming Juventus number one.
The former Arsenal and Roma goalkeeper has played 12 games in Serie A this season, compared to Buffon’s 11, but coach Massimiliano Allegri recently confirmed that the 40-year-old Italian, who has just returned from an almost two-month injury break, is still his No. 1 choice.
Buffon is currently pondering his options for the future and appears to be taking into serious consideration the possibility of playing on until he is 41.
By doing so, he would earn a shot at beating Paolo Maldini’s all-time Serie A appearance record, although he has also said that he does not want to become a burden.
Szczesny is his designated successor and many expected that transition to occur this summer.
However, the Polish goalkeeper says he would have no problems in putting that back a year as he would welcome another 12 months learning from one of the best in the business.
“It’s incredible [working with Buffon],” he told Sky Sport Italia at an event at the Allianz Stadium. “I arrived here knowing that he was into his last year or two and I told myself it was an experience that could only come around once in a lifetime.
“I expected to meet an outstanding goalkeeper, but he’s also an incredible man. Buffon is the big leader of the team, a great friend for everybody. He’s a person we all love. He helps everybody and everybody helps him.
“He’s an amazing person, and I don’t need to say anything about him as a goalkeeper because we all know everything. It’s a fantastic life experience and I hope that he can carry on [playing], but only for another year!”
Szczesny has kept eight clean sheets in his 12 league outings for the Bianconeri this season, while he has not conceded in two Coppa Italia appearances and one match in the Champions League.
Buffon recently made his return from an injury-enforced absence in Juve’s Coppa Italia clash with Atalanta, appearing in that competition for the first time since 2012, with his various understudies previously picked for their domestic cup matches.
He was back between the posts in a league fixture for Sunday’s 7-0 win over Sassuolo and is likely to hold his place for the clash with Fiorentina on Friday night and the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie with Tottenham next week.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.