International news: Gianluigi Buffon set to become Italy's joint appearance record-holder

Gianluigi Buffon: Closing in on Italian appearance record

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Gianluigi Buffon will join Fabio Cannavaro as Italy's joint appearance record-holder if he plays in the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers - something he agrees will be a "special achievement".

The 35-year-old is expected to feature in Cesare Prandelli's side against Bulgaria on Friday and the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Should he do so, Buffon would draw level with Cannavaro on 136 appearances and given the defender is retired, the goalkeeper will no doubt go on to become the record-holder in his own right.

Tuesday's match against Czech Republic is being played at Juventus Stadium, where Buffon has played for the Old Lady for 12 years, and which is hosting an international for the first time.

Despite the nature of such a historic achievement, the Bianconeri goalkeeper belies only a little excitement.

He told reporters: "It would represent a special achievement, but not necessarily something unthinkable seeing as I started playing for the national team very early.

"It's a wonderful feeling, because I've had 16 incredible years, even though I suffered an injury that could have changed a lot of things. I believe that I've done well over the years and always been determined to keep pushing myself.

"Of all the Italy matches I've played, I can tell you that the last hundred have not just been games of football but much more than that: they have been played with passion, spirit, emotion, the sense of responsibility that comes from representing your country and the desire to make our fans happy."