When the former Milan midfielder Gianlui Buffon announced he was retiring, it was with the knowledge that he was about to become one of the most sought-after strikers in the world.
However, as the world is learning the truth, the 31-year-old has admitted to feeling a bit like he was a second-year goalkeeper, having spent the last few years being groomed as a target.
“It’s a little bit of an illusion,” he told a press conference after the 2-0 Champions League victory over Juventus on Tuesday night.
“I feel like I’ve been groomed for this position for a long time.
You’re asked to play as a keeper in front of a crowd and that’s your job, that’s what you’re given.
But it’s an illusion.
It’s an experience and a challenge, and you’re only really allowed to be a goalkeeper if you’re ready.
The only reason I’m playing at the moment is to play for Milan.
I love the club, I’m happy here, I’ve worked very hard and it’s time to move on.
That’s what I want to do.
I’m just going to keep working.
I’ll see what happens.”
Bampliosi’s retirement has been an inevitable one, given his age and the fact he was still only 23 when he signed with Milan.
He has struggled to establish himself as a starter in the league, having started just one game since returning from injury.
And while he was expected to play a pivotal role in Milan’s pursuit of another top-five finish, Buffon says it’s the team’s inability to compete on the international stage that has left him frustrated.
“It has been tough to play and play well, but the team didn’t perform at the same level as the previous year,” Buffon told the newspaper.
“We needed to get the results.
We needed the results in the last games of the season to get back into the Champions League, but in the end, the team did not perform at that level.”
“If you compare us to last season, we were in the top two in the table and the result showed that.
Now we’re a little further behind and we can’t make the same progress as last season.”
It was an issue that has led to Buffon signing a five-year contract extension with the Rossoneri.
However, the Italy international is not worried about the prospect of leaving Milan for greener pastures.
“I’m not worried,” he said.
“It’s not a question of ‘Is it possible?’
No, I don’t think it is.
There is a new challenge.
Milan are a great team, they’re a great club, and I’m sure I’ll play a big part in the team.”
The former Juventus star, who scored 54 goals in his final two seasons with the club that gave him his first call-up to the senior national team, says he wants to remain with the Bianconeri and will not change his plans for the future.
“Of course I want Milan to succeed, but I also want to play here, and that is what I’m doing.
I don’ want to leave.
If the club is to have a future, then I have to stay,” he added.
While Buffon is no longer at Milan, he is not the only one to leave his post to leave Milan.
Lorenzo Tambakis, who spent six years at the Rossonio club, has left for the Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, where he is hoping to make a comeback to the first team.
Tambakis joined the Bundesliga outfit in 2007, and in that time he scored 26 goals in the competition, helping them to promotion to the Bundesliga.
Despite the move, Tambaki believes he is destined for greatness.
“[Tambaki] has always been my best friend.
I know he’s a great person and a good footballer.
He’s an important person for me, because I know that he wants the best for me.
So I’m very happy for him and for me,” he continued.
Former Roma striker Gianluino De Rossi, who left the club in 2010, also has ambitions of making a return to the club.
After two seasons at Lazio, the 25-year old is expected to sign for a new club in the Italian second division.
His current contract expires in the summer of 2021, but he is in line to be released in January if he does not find a new team.