Gianluigi Buffon is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. Over the course of his illustrious career spanning more than two decades, Buffon has cemented his legacy as a Juventus and Italy legend.
Buffon’s incredible longevity, consistency, shot-stopping abilities and leadership have made him an iconic figure in the sport. He holds numerous goalkeeping records, including the most appearances for Italy and Serie A. Buffon was a key member of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning squad and led Juventus to multiple Serie A titles.
At 43 years old, Buffon is still playing at a high level for Juventus in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. His dedication, work ethic and passion for the game are unmatched. Buffon’s career accomplishments and impact on Italian football have earned him widespread respect and admiration.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Gianluigi Buffon was born on January 28, 1978 in Carrara, Italy. He grew up in the Tuscan city located in northern Italy with his parents, Maria Stella and Adriano, who were both Italian athletes.
What position did he first play as a youth player?
Buffon originally played as a midfielder when he started out in the youth academy of Italian club Parma at the age of 13. He occasionally played as a defender before switching to the goalkeeper position.
When did he make his professional debut for Parma?
Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma on November 19, 1995 at the age of 17 against AC Milan. He became the youngest goalkeeper ever to feature in Serie A.
Rise to Stardom at Parma
After making sporadic appearances over the next two seasons, Buffon inherited the starting spot in 1996-97 at just 19 years old. He became Parma’s undisputed first-choice keeper during this breakout season.
What accomplishments did he achieve at Parma?
During his five seasons with Parma from 1995 to 2001, Buffon won the UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Italian Supercup. Individually, he was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year three times.
How did his performances earn him a huge transfer?
Buffon emerged into one of the most talented young keepers in the world. His excellent shot-stopping, maturity and leadership drew attention from powerhouses like Manchester United and Juventus.
Record-Breaking Transfer to Juventus
In 2001, Juventus paid a world-record transfer fee for a goalkeeper of €52 million to acquire Buffon from Parma. This underscored his reputation as the most exciting keeper in the world.
What jersey number did he wear at Juventus?
Buffon inherited the prestigious number 1 jersey at Juventus, previously worn by legendary keepers like Dino Zoff. The number 1 shirt was a fitting statement on his position as the new starting keeper.
How did Buffon perform in his first seasons at Juventus?
Despite Juventus struggling in his initial seasons, Buffon quickly established himself as one of the world’s best keepers. He was nominated for the UEFA Best Goalkeeper award in his debut 2002-03 season for his individual brilliance.
Major Honors and Records with Juventus
In his illustrious 17 seasons with Juventus so far, Buffon has won nine Serie A titles, five Coppa Italia titles and six Italian Supercups. On the European stage, he won Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year three times.
What was his most memorable European accomplishment?
Buffon finally tasted European glory by helping Juventus reach the UEFA Champions League final in 2017. Although Juve lost to Real Madrid, it was a historic achievement after years of European heartbreak.
What are some notable goalkeeping records he set?
Buffon set numerous records during his Juventus career, including the most clean sheets (294) in Serie A history. He also holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A (974 minutes).
Success with the Italian National Team
Buffon received his first Italy cap in 1997 as a teenager. He served as the backup to legendary keeper Gianluca Pagliuca during the 1998 World Cup.
When did he become Italy’s undisputed number 1?
After Pagliuca’s retirement, Buffon took over as Italy’s full-time starter and captain leading up to the 2002 World Cup. He backstopped Italy during their round of 16 exit.
How did Buffon perform at the 2006 World Cup?
Buffon was in peak form during the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. He conceded only two goals in seven matches while keeping five clean sheets as Italy lifted their fourth World Cup trophy.
What is his appearance record for Italy?
With 176 caps since 1997, Buffon holds the record for most appearances for the Italian national team. He retired from international duty in 2018 after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Individual Honors and Awards
What are some of the major individual honors received by Buffon?
Buffon’s brilliance has been recognized through numerous individual awards. He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record 12 times. Additionally, Buffon has been elected to the Serie A Team of the Year 14 times.
How many Ballon d’Or nominations has he received?
Buffon’s world-class ability saw him receive five nominations for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award given to the best player in the world. He finished as high as 9th place in the voting in 2017.
What is his IFFHS ranking as a keeper?
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics, a recognized authority on football achievements, has consistently ranked Buffon among the top goalkeepers worldwide. He was voted the 2nd best keeper of the 21st century behind Spain’s Iker Casillas.
Playing Style, Influence and Legacy
Buffon is renowned for his athleticism, shot-stopping reflexes and command of the penalty area. His positioning is excellent while his size at 6’3″ allows him to cover a lot of the goal. Mentally, he is a natural leader who organizes his defense.
How has he influenced modern goalkeeping?
Buffon’s sweeper-keeper style of proactively rushing out to clear crosses and through balls influenced a generation of keepers. He also popularized wearing distinctive brightly colored goalkeeper kits and shorts instead of traditional all-black.
Why is Buffon considered a legend?
Buffon is hailed as a legend not just for his longevity and records, but also for his Vmaverick personad and the sheer gravitas he brings between the goal posts. The longevity of his world-class ability is unprecedented in modern era goalkeeping.
In 2011, Buffon married Czechoslovakian model Alena Šeredová after five years of dating. They have two children together – Louis Thomas (born 2007) and David Lee (born 2009). The couple separated in 2014 although not officially divorcing.
Does he participate in any charity work?
Buffon has supported numerous charities over the course of his career. In addition to being a UN ambassador against gambling, he has raised money for international causes such as the Ebola crisis in Africa.
What are his hobbies and interests?
Off the pitch, Buffon enjoys various activities like driving cars, watching movies, playing the piano and spending time with his family. He has a passion for learning languages and can speak Italian, Spanish, French and English fluently.
Recent Career and Retirement Plans
After 17 hugely successful seasons with Juventus, Buffon left the club in 2018 seeking a fresh challenge. He signed with Paris Saint-Germain in France, where he spent the 2018-19 season as the backup keeper.
When did Buffon return to Juventus?
Despite turning 41 years old, Buffon returned for a second stint at Juventus in 2019 to provide leadership and experience. He signed a one-year contract to deputize for starter Wojciech Szczęsny.
Has Buffon announced retirement plans?
As of now, the 43-year-old Buffon has not announced plans to retire and is taking his career on a season-by-season basis. He renewed his contract with Juventus in 2020 to keep playing as he maintains his high form and fitness levels.
Gianluigi Buffon’s remarkable career has spanned over two decades at the highest level. His many records, awards and achievements solidify his place as arguably the greatest goalkeeper in football history.
Buffon’s stunning longevity at a world-class level has defied expectations of what is possible for a keeper in the modern era. His continued impact for Juventus and Italy into his 40s is unprecedented.
Beyond just his shot-stopping and records, Buffon’s charismatic leadership and gravity between the posts have made him a legendary figure. He has influenced generations of keepers with his athletic and aggressive style.
Few players have demonstrated the incredible dedication, work ethic and passion for football like Buffon. After over 25 years as a professional, Buffon’s fervent love for the game remains strong as ever.
As his career inevitably winds to a close, there is no doubt that Gianluigi Buffon will be remembered as one of the iconic names in football history. He has given so much to Juventus, Italy and the sport itself. Buffon’s remarkable story cements his eternal legacy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gianluigi Buffon
What is Gianluigi Buffon’s net worth?
Gianluigi Buffon has a net worth estimated at $85 million as of 2022. The vast majority of his wealth has been accumulated through salaries and endorsements during his long playing career. He was one of the world’s highest paid players during his prime years.
Is Gianluigi Buffon the greatest keeper ever?
Many football experts and fans consider Buffon the greatest goalkeeper of all time. His incredible consistency, longevity, achievements and impact on the position make a strong case for him being the GOAT keeper. He has set numerous records over his 25+ year career.
What number does Gianluigi Buffon wear for Italy?
Throughout his 20-year international career for Italy from 1997 to 2018, Gianluigi Buffon wore the number 1 shirt. The number 1 was in recognition of his status as Italy’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper for most of that period.
How many Serie A titles has Gianluigi Buffon won?
During his 19 seasons playing for Parma and Juventus in Serie A, Gianluigi Buffon has won 11 Italian league titles. He won the Serie A title in 1999 with Parma followed by 10 more league triumphs with Juventus, where he spent 17 seasons.
Is Gianluigi Buffon retiring soon?
Gianluigi Buffon is still playing professionally at age 43 after rejoining Juventus for a second spell in 2019. He has not formally announced imminent retirement plans and only commits season-by-season now late in his career. Buffon seems intent on continuing as long as he remains fit and sharp.