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Gianluigi Buffon has not appeared for Juventus since Dec. 1, a win against Napoli, because of a calf injury.

Gianluigi Buffon will no longer be able to match Paolo Maldini’s Serie A appearances record if he retires at the end of the season after being ruled out of Juventus’ game against Genoa on Monday.

Buffon, 39, has made 629 appearances in Italy’s top flight — but with 17 games left after Monday he would only be able to reach 646 this season, one short of Maldini’s record.

A calf injury has kept Buffon out of action since Dec. 1, and the problem means he is again unable to play on Monday.

However, coach Massimiliano Allegri expects him to be back in the next game at Chievo, telling a news conference: “Gigi will be available again next week.

“He is our No. 1 and maybe this forced rest could come in handy for him for the end of the season.

“Besides, [Wojciech] Szczesny has done great things in his absence, proving he is an extremely valuable goalkeeper.”

Buffon is expected to retire in the summer despite leaving the option open to continue next season. He and Szczesny have played 10 games each in Serie A this season.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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