Football: Gianluigi Buffon prepares to make it 1,000 not out when the Azzurri play Albania

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon celebrates during the Champions League soccer match at Juventus stadium in Turin, October 2, 2013.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon celebrates during the Champions League soccer match at Juventus stadium in Turin, October 2, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Rome (AFP) - Gianluigi Buffon will make his 1,000th career appearance when the legendary goalkeeper pulls on the gloves once more for Italy on Friday against Albania.

The 39-year-old Juventus stopper made his professional debut in 1995 as a 17-year-old in goal for Parma and has gone on to become a football icon at home and abroad.

"This is going to be a great achievement. The only thing I can say with certainty is that there will not be 1,000 more," he told a press conference on Thursday.

Buffon played 220 times for Parma and is at 612 appearances for Juventus - and counting.

The World Cup qualifier against Albania will make it his 168th cap for Italy and bring up the 1,000-game landmark in all.

If Italy, in a tussle for top spot in Group G with Spain, reach Russia 2018, it will be Buffon's sixth World Cup Finals appearance.

And then?

"I will have to think carefully and feel in my heart what may or may not happen," he said.