Buffon will not rush return
Gianluigi Buffon will make sure he is good and ready before returning to action with Juventus.
The Italy goalkeeper underwent back surgery yesterday to repair a herniated disc and will be out of action for at least three months.
"I have taken a big weight off my shoulders," Buffon told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. "Perhaps I should have done this before considering I had this problem from the beginning of 2008.
"But everything has gone well and this gives me peace of mind and confidence. Now I must not be in a hurry to get back, I need to take the necessary time to return without any risk of having a recurrence."
The 32-year-old missed five months last season due to injuries but recovered to take his place with the Italian squad at the FIFA World Cup™.
A back injury sustained early on in Italy's group opener against Paraguay forced Buffon off at half-time and meant he missed the rest of the tournament with the Azzurri knocked out in the first round of the competition.
"Considering my role, I think my career is still a long one and without the hernia I would have been able to lengthen it further," he said. "My future with the national team? I believe I deserve my place.
"I've had [new Italy coach Cesare] Prandelli as a rival coach since my youth years and I knew back then that he has an exceptional rapport with his players. He is part of the group and I think that is very important."
Buffon will replace Fabio Cannavaro as skipper of the national team after the latter retired from international duty with Italy's departure from the FIFA World Cup.
"For me this is the maximum that any player can aspire to," he said. "It's a responsibility but above all an honour."