Buffon forced to undergo surgery

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The Independent Online

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has set his sights on a return to action at the end of the calendar year after being forced to undergo surgery on a back complaint.

The 32-year-old made just one appearance during Italy’s short-lived defence of their World Cup crown, before being forced out of the action and under the knife.

He told the Corriere dello Sport: “I have decided I’ve had enough of living with this uncertainty, so I will have surgery.

“The operation won’t be immediately, but in 2011 I’ll be back as good as new. I might even return earlier, but I won’t kid myself.

“Let’s just say I am focusing on January for my comeback. I intend to take all the time I need.

“I should’ve done this sooner, but I was always told that people needed me. Now I’m the one who is in need.”

Veteran defender Fabio Cannavaro has confirmed his retirement from international football following Italy's World Cup exit.

Cannavaro, who skippered the Azzurri to World Cup glory in Germany back in 2006, was part of the side that failed to progress past the group stages in South Africa.

They finished bottom of their group for the first time ever following 1-1 draws with Paraguay and New Zealand before Thursday's 3-2 defeat to Slovakia.

The 36-year-old defender was expected to end his international career however Italy fared in South Africa.

The 136-times capped centre-back recently revealed that he was leaving Juventus to join Al-Ahli Dubai in the United Arab Emirates later this summer.

“It's time to go,” said Cannavaro. “ think I've had a good career.

“I've had a lot of good games and a lot of bad games - that's all part of a footballer's career. But what we did in 2006 can never be erased.”