Italy coach says he convinced Buffon to extend career

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Gianluigi Buffon’s international career might not be over after all.

Interim Italy coach Luigi Di Biagio believes he has convinced the 40-year-old goalkeeper to stay on for friendlies against Argentina and England next month.

Speaking at a training camp for younger players Monday, Di Biagio said “a player like him can’t go out after the loss to Sweden,” referring to the World Cup playoff defeat in November.

Buffon announced his retirement from Italy’s squad after that loss.

Di Biagio said he “proposed that (Buffon) take part in two or three matches then make a decision down the road. So Gigi will probably take part in the March trip.”

Di Biagio said veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini will also remain in the squad, although he wouldn’t announce a decision over a possible recall of Mario Balotelli.