From Parma’s academy to the echoing roar of Turin’s Allianz Stadium, and the shimmering lights of Paris St-Germain, Gianluigi Buffon has hung up his gloves at the age of 45, marking the end of an illustrious 28-year long career.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Affectionately known as Gigi, Buffon holds a special place in footballing folklore. He’s often been referred to as the ‘Golden man’ of football – an epitaph as golden as his career, sprinkled with victories and records.
This titan of the beautiful game announced his retirement on social media with the poignant words: “That’s all folks. You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together.” A sentiment that rings true for his fellow players, the fans and anyone who has ever marvelled at his acrobatic saves.
A Glittering Career at Juventus
For many, Buffon is synonymous with the black and white stripes of Juventus. His footballing journey took flight when he swapped Parma for Juventus in a whopping £32.6m deal in 2001. A record-breaking fee for a goalkeeper that reflected his immense talent and potential.
During his reign in Turin, Buffon hoisted aloft an impressive 10 Serie A titles. His formidable presence between the posts became the backbone of a Juventus side that dominated Italian football for years. His 657 appearances for the club, a record unto itself, underscores his reliability and consistent performance.
International Stardom and A World Cup Triumph
Representing Italy 176 times, Buffon holds the distinction of being the most capped goalkeeper for the Azzurri. His most iconic moment in an Italy jersey arrived in 2006 when he clinched the World Cup after a thrilling penalty shootout against France in Berlin. A moment that continues to reverberate through the annals of football history.
A Fond Farewell
Football giants across the globe united in bidding adieu to Buffon. His former club, Juventus, took to Twitter to pay homage to their former custodian: “A legend hangs up his gloves today,” the club shared. “Your saves, your smiles, and your character will be forever remembered.”
Parma president, Kyle Krause, lauded Buffon’s “unparalleled skill, relentless determination and unwavering passion” both on and off the field. Meanwhile, his former PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappe, stated, “It was a huge honour for me to have the chance to rub shoulders with you and cross paths with you in your legendary career.”
Buffon’s retirement might signify the end of an era, but his legacy will live on, inspiring generations to come. After all, as Serie A beautifully articulated, “There is football history. There is also Gigi Buffon. A fairytale career that took off and ended in one place.”