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Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon injured his back during the World Cup. ((Francesco Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images) )

Juventus said Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon underwent successful surgery for a back injury sustained at the World Cup.

The Italian team said in a statement that the operation late Sunday in Milan lasted about an hour.

The team did not say when he will be ready to play, but surgeon Maurizio Fornari told the ANSA news agency that he expects Buffon to be sidelined for about three months.

Buffon left after the first half of Italy's opening match against Paraguay with a herniated disk in his back. He was replaced by Federico Marchetti but is likely to return as first choice after new coach Cesare Prandelli said he wants to make him Italy's captain.

"I should probably have had it operated on earlier," Buffon said. "I have had this problem since the start of 2008, but it got worse recently when the hernia meant the nerve was trapped.

"All the same, it is OK now, and I'm happy that the surgery went well."