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Buffon says Andrea Pirlo leaving is not an option

Gianluigi Buffon has said Juventus would be stupid to let midfielder Andrea Pirlo go when his contract expires in the summer.

Talks over Pirlo’s future will take place early next year, Juve general manager Beppe Marotta has said, denying that the player is unsettled.

The Italy international, 34, went straight to the dressing room when he was substituted during his side’s 2-1 win over Hellas Verona at the weekend, prompting coach Antonio Conte to invoke new rules dictating that all players who leave the field must sit on the bench to watch the remainder of the game.

Clubs around Europe are watching the situation in Turin for a sign that Pirlo may be available on a free transfer, but Marotta says everything is going according to plan and contract negotiations will take place in the new year.

“[Selling] a player like Pirlo is never up for discussion,” Buffon told Sky Sport Italia.

“If we started to do that, then we may as well dismantle the stadium bit by bit, go home and stop playing football. I hope that we never deprive ourselves of such a strong player.”

Juventus must — and will — improve after an erratic start to the season that has seen them leaking goals, Buffon stressed.

They have had to come from behind four times in the last four games, gaining two draws and two wins, and he added:

“It would be nice if we could take the lead once in a while.”

“To tell the truth, in the last three or four games we’ve conceded from the first shot on goal.

“Some of it is down to misfortune, but then there are individual errors, too. I think every single one of us could have done better with the goals we’ve conceded, me included.

“Since we are only at the start of the season, though, it’s acceptable and it’s part of a process to return to optimal form like in recent years.”

Juve were close to selling striker Fabio Quagliarella in the summer, but he has already proved his worth with his two goals this season. And he hopes to continue his goalscoring performances in the derby against Torino — where he began his career — this weekend.

“I still remember my debut for Torino at the age of 17,” he told tuttosport. “I still have a bond with Torino, but I’m serene about this game. Scoring a goal is always nice, but to do so in a game like this would be even more so.”