Buffon: I battled depression early in my Juventus career

JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty
The goalkeeper says he once missed a match due to a panic attack

Gianluigi Buffon says he suffered from depression early in his career, adding that he once missed a match for Juventus due to a panic attack.

The goalkeeper joined Paris Saint-Germain this past summer following a legendary career with Juventus, where he remained one of the world's best goalkeepers throughout his 17-year stay.

However, it was not always easy for the World Cup winner, who says he battled through a number of difficult moments after joining Juventus from Parma in 2001.

"For a few months, everything just stopped making sense," Buffon told Vanity Fair. "It seemed like no one cared about me, just the footballer I represented.

"It was like everyone was asking about Buffon and nobody about Gigi. It was a really difficult moment.

"I was 25, riding the wave of success but one day, before a Serie A match, I went to Ivano Bordon, the goalkeeper coach, and told him: 'Ivano, get [No. 2 goalkeeper Antonio] Chimenti to warm up and play. I'm not feeling up to it.

"I had suffered a panic attack and was in no state to play the match."

Buffon's emotional displays have long been one of his trademarks, and the Italian star credits those early days as the ones that turned him into the goalkeeper he is today.

"If I had not gone through this experience, that cloud and that turmoil with other people, I may have never have got out of it," he said. "I had the clarity of understanding that it was a watershed moment between giving up and confronting those insecurities we all have.

"I was never scared of showing them nor of crying -- something which happens to me and of which I am not at all embarrassed."

Now 40 years old, Buffon says he plans to stay on with PSG for as long as possible.

The goalkeeper joined the club in pursuit of a Champions League medal, the one honour that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

Buffon has started 13 matches for the club as he's split time with Alphonse Areola, but the Italian says he hopes to remain for at least one more season.

“My idea, if PSG agree, is to play on for another year. I might seem strange at the age of 40 on the field, thinking I’ve got more dreams and ambitions than I did when I was 20," he said.

“Where I hope to be in 10 years is just still on my feet!”

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