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'He wants to keep on playing' - Mancini leaves Italy door open for Buffon amid PSG speculation

Gianluigi Buffon is leaving Juventus but his international career might not be over yet.

Image: Mike Egerton

GIANLUIGI BUFFON’S ITALY career is not over yet, according to coach Roberto Mancini.

It was thought the veteran goalkeeper had played his last game on the international stage, but Mancini revealed on Thursday he had been in conversation with Buffon.

And the 40-year-old, who waved an emotional farewell to Juventus last week and is now wanted by French champions Paris Saint-Germain, is seemingly keen to add to his 176 caps.

“I’ve spoken with Buffon,” said former Manchester City boss Mancini, whose side face Saudi Arabia on Monday.

“He wants to keep on playing and like every active player will be in consideration. I respect his desire at this time.”

Buffon’s most recent outing for his country was in a 2-0 friendly loss to Argentina, which followed on from the Azzurri’s World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden.

Mancini’s 30-man squad for the forthcoming matches against Saudi Arabia, France and Netherlands included a return for Mario Balotelli.

The trio of games represents the start of a rebuilding job after the nation’s first World Cup qualification failure since 1958.

It is a task Mancini knows will prove difficult, but he remains confident.

“I’m not a magician, nobody is,” he said. “In other times there was an abundance of quality.

“I am confident, however. This is a very young group that can develop a lot. Perhaps it will just take some time.”

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