Football Legends: Gigi Buffon
Despite the failure with the Italian squad in the preparations for the World Cup 2018, Gianluigi Buffon is a legend any football fan can appreciate. As he announces his retirement at 40 years of age, we figured it is a good moment for us to relive his remarkable career once more in our Football Legends segment.
Buffon was born on January 28, 1978 in a small town of Carrara in Tuscany, Italy. As a boy in Italy, he was submerged into football form the very young age. As he showed great potential, he was noticed and then called up to train with several respectable teams, including Milan. But he eventually chose Parma where he joined at age of 13.
Like every goalkeeper’s story goes, they started running around the pitch and trying different positions. In Parma, he secured a defensive midfielder position but, as he puts it himself, his destiny brought him to the goal. As both youth keepers got injured, coach hinted at Buffon to have a go. That’s how the world’s best goalkeeper was born
Not long after he was promoted to the senior team where at 17 years old he made his debut against Milan. It was on November 25, 1995.
And then, after 20 years at Parma, he joined Juventus for then an unfathomable sum of 52 million Euros. A record fee that held until 2016.
17 Juventus years
In Parma Buffon grew into a world-class player, so when he joined Juventus to realize his full potential. In his first season, Juventus won the Serie A with Buffon keeping 12 clean sheets only conceding 22 goals throughout the season.
During the second season, Juventus with the help of Buffon won the Supercoppa Italiana and reached the Final of the Champions League. Unfortunately, despite saving two penalties, Juventus lost to Milan in a shootout 3-2.
And so, Buffon dominated again. Season after season. Despite a few setbacks like the injury that sidelined him for almost 5 months in 2005, and sports betting scandal (which he was cleared off all charges), he showed consistency year in, year out.
However, Italian federation concluded that players were involved in illegal gambling on this site or similar ones and the whole team was demoted. Even when Juventus were knocked to Serie B, he stayed and helped them climb again.
Buffon is the epitome of what it means to be a true botballer at heart. He has showed leadership all the way throughout his career on and off the pitch. Now he has retired with 175 caps for the country and at 1050+ appearances his is the fifth all-time among goalkeepers .
Gianluigi Buffon is a legend. Will always be. Not only because all of his achievements are too long to even mention. His commanding presence on the field/ His friendliness towards other players. His faithfulness to his clubs.