Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon needs a knee operation, but wants to put off going under the knife for as long as possible.

The 31-year-old played for 90 minutes last night in the 2-2 draw with Republic of Ireland at Croke Park which secured the champions' qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.

My knee is destroyed.

Gianluigi Buffon

He returned to Italy today and has spoken of his problematic knee, but does not want to undergo surgery until after the Serie A match with champions Inter Milan in early December.

"My knee is destroyed," he said. "I need an operation. (But) I hope to get to the game against Inter."