Turin, January 23 - Serie A champions Juventus announced on Wednesday that they have extended Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's contract by two years. "Buffon has bound himself to us for two more years, until June 2015," Juve Chairman Andrea Agnelli told a press conference. The 34-year-old, who joined the Turin giants from Parma in 2001 and is still regarded by many as the best keeper in the world, said he had proposed renewing the deal by one year to allow the club to keep their options open, given that he is reaching the latter stages of his career. "But Juve don't improvise, they plan, so it was right for the club to come back with another offer of two years so that they will not have to consider signing a new goalkeeper for two years," added the player, who helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup. He said he had not had offers from other clubs because "there was no room for them". Agnelli believes Buffon is still at the top of his game and said he hopes he can bag soccer's most prestigious individual prize, the Ballon d'Or world player of the year award, over the next two years. "It would be fitting recognition for what Gigi has represented for the world of soccer, for Italian football and for Juventus," Agnelli said. Buffon, who is the captain of Juventus and Italy, won the 2006 World Cup after conceding just one goal - an own goal - from open play. He has been named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight times and was the winner of the 2006 Yashin Award following Italy's World Cup victory, in which Buffon was also elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament, an honour which he also received after reaching the final of the 2012 European Championships. Buffon is the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award, which he won in 2003. He also won the award for best Goalkeeper that year and was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In 2006 Buffon also placed second in the Ballon d'Or and was elected to be part of the FIFPro World XI in 2006 and 2007. He has been named the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) goalkeeper of the year four times and was named goalkeeper of the 21st century and of the decade by the same organisation. He has turned out 342 times for Juve, winning three Serie A titles as well as two more that were revoked because of the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. He was also part of the team that came second in the European Champions League in 2003. Buffon has won 123 Italy caps since 1997.
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di Giovanni Pastore