Gianluigi Buffon admitted he fears retirement as the veteran Juventus captain looks set to make an announcement about his future.
Juve and Italy great Buffon is expected to reveal his future plans on Thursday amid speculation the 40-year-old goalkeeper and 176-cap international will retire.
Buffon previously said he would walk away from football at the end of the season, unless Juve won the Champions League and he had a FIFA Club World Cup campaign to look forward to.
Juve were dramatically knocked out of the Champions League by holders Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, though Buffon celebrated Serie A and Coppa Italia glory last week – his seventh successive Scudetto and fourth consecutive Italian cup triumph.
Discussing the prospect of life after football, Buffon told Barcelona defender Gerard Pique in an interview with The Players’ Tribune: “I think that at my age you have to evaluate the situation a month, a week, at a time.
“Because it is important for athletes like you and me, who have always played at the top, to be doing our best, struggling to be the best, to stay at the top. You have to be physically well, because you don’t want poor results for the sake of your pride.
“I’m Buffon, and that is who I want to be till the last minute. And when I’m not myself anymore, I’ll go. In a couple of months, I’ll meet with the president and we’ll evaluate the situation calmly.
“I’m very happy at the moment. I’m happy playing, because I love the atmosphere — I’m with my friends and I know I can help on the pitch. The day I can’t, no problem. I’ve had a great career anyway.
“I would be dishonest if I told you I’m not afraid. But deep down I feel calm and at peace because I know I’m naturally curious. And the day I stop playing football, I will find a way not to get bored and I’ll stay busy.
“After all, players like us, who have lived the game intensely, have to keep their minds occupied and have a reason to get up, something to fight for. I’ll never get bored or miss being in the public eye.
“The only problem is that my life has been organised for me for 23 years. Every morning you are given a timetable. But when you have 24 hours ahead of you with nothing to do, that could be a problem.”
Buffon has spent his illustrious career in Italy, having swapped boyhood club Parma for Juventus in 2001.
Asked if he had ever thought about playing abroad, Buffon said: “I would have liked to because I like being around different people, other ways of life, of thinking. It sounded appealing. But deep down I feel very Italian. I know Italy has its limitations, but the world I know makes me smile and I like it.
“As a figure in sports, I didn’t and still don’t want to leave Italy as long as I don’t have to.”