By Tim Stannard
Buffon leaves Juventus…but no retirement planned
On the Sports Burst dignified-departure scale, Gigi Buffon gets a laudable 9 out of 10.
Unfortunately, the whole ‘referee has a trashcan for a heart’ lingers over the Italian keeper a little. It wasn’t quite the Andres Iniesta emotional collapse / looking for a winery distribution deal for his family business that has become a Rolling Stones-style farewell tour, or the vaguely embittered adieu from Arsene Wenger.
The perma-stubbled figure who has been a Juventus player for the past 17 years announced on Thursday that he was leaving the club and that Saturday’s Serie A clash against Hellas Verona would be his last. That will be live on beIN SPORTS at 8:55AM ET / 5:55AM PT going up against Prince Harry and Meghan.
Now the pre-planned announcement was set to be something completely different a couple of weeks ago, with Buffon admitting that he was contemplating an out-and-out retirement. But there was a change of heart. “Fifteen days ago, I was already an ex-player. Now I'm not sure any more,” admitted the 40-year-old who revealed that he has received offers of employment both on and off the pitch. One rumor happens to be a switch to Liverpool.
The one move Buffon said that he won’t be making was to another Serie A side or joining a “minor league.” Buffon won nine Serie A titles with Juventus – including one clinched last week – and even made time on Thursday to make an apology to Michael Oliver, the match official who received his wrath after the Real Madrid Champions League clash. “After that match, I went beyond the limits with the things I said about the referee and I apologize for that.”
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for more reaction to Buffon’s big news.
Balotelli contemplating Riviera reversal
So, there is a chance? While Mario Balotelli is expected to be playing his final game in a two-year spell with Nice this weekend, there is a tiny chance that the Italian might well stay on with the Ligue Un outfit.
Tiny, but it’s something. The footballer admitted that he has yet to make a decision on his next move. “If I leave, I’ll certainly be sad,” admitted Balo on a ‘Nice’ two years on the French Riviera.
An Italian who is definitely departing his French club is Claudio Ranieri, who is leaving Nantes after just a year as boss after a troubled second half of the season that followed a stirring first. And to wrap matters off with a bow, someone who is not an Italian, but will be heading to Italy. That player is Emre Can who is set to jump ship to Juve once the Champions League is out of the way.
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the latest Transfer Tracker news.
Rooney rumor of Everton stay
Reverse gear needed. The Wayne Rooney to DC United trail has apparently gone a little cold. The firing of Sam Allardyce from the role as Everton head coach has reportedly made the Scouse striker rethink his immediate future. And that means potentially staying an extra year and hoping the environment changes a little for him, from the reportedly frosty atmosphere under Big Sam.
However, this trail might well warm up again once Everton appoint a new coach and he suggests that Rooney is more than welcome to join the still-to-be-drained swamp in Washington.
Meanwhile, Big Sam has been talking about his abrupt ejection from Everton and claims that “most Everton fans didn’t want me out,” claiming that his fate was sealed even before his final meeting with the club’s majority shareholder. “It seemed to be done and dusted through the media,” complained Allardyce.
Rockets fire back against Warriors
Well, the Houston Rockets are not going to be taken out easily by the Golden State Warriors with the Texans firing on all launchpad cylinders in the NBA play-off series game 2 on Wednesday. The Rockets came away with a win to level matters out at 1-1. The battle continues in California on Sunday.
In the NHL play-offs, a truly remarkable debut season for the Las Vegas Golden Knights continued with a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to take the conference final series 2-1. Game 4 of the clash between the Tampa Bay Lightning the Washington Capitals continues on Thursday with the DC franchise holding a 2-1 lead.
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The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. Sports Burst is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.