Gianluigi Buffon could miss Paolo Maldini's Serie A record through injury

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon must be fit for Monday's game against Genoa if he is to have any chance of equalling Paolo Maldini's record of Serie A appearances by the end of the season.

Buffon, who last appeared in a 1-0 win away against Napoli on Dec. 1, has missed Juventus' last five league games because of a bruised calf. The 39-year-old is preparing to make his return against Genoa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

With 629 appearances so far and 18 games remaining in the Serie A campaign, Buffon will need to return on Monday -- and play in all remaining league games -- in order to equal the former AC Milan defender's record of 647 appearances.

The goalkeeper, who joined Juventus from Parma in 2001, is expecting to retire after this season, but there recently have been suggestions that he is contemplating a return.

Buffon has started just 10 of the Bianconeri's 20 Serie A games this season. He has also missed two Coppa Italia games -- both victories -- as well as the 2-0 victory against Olympiakos in the final game of the Champions League's group stage.

Wojciech Szczesny, who moved to Juventus on a €12.2 million transfer in the summer, started Juventus' last five league games in place of Buffon. Szczesny spent the last two seasons on loan to Roma from Arsenal.