A true professional, Buffon has reputation and integrity. Buffon is the World's most complete Goalkeeper of All Time.
Goalkeepers are the most unselfish players in the pitch. They endure a lot of pressure, in order for their team to be victorious. Gianluigi Buffon is certainly one of the best goalkeepers in the world: he’s not flashy, he is not arrogant, and he doesn’t make many mistakes. He displays of bravery during important matches have proven that he is worthy of being Italy’s and Juventus’s number one, goalkeeper. He has always been professional on and off the pitch; he is a model for any young aspiring footballers. He is a true leader and there aren’t many players like him anymore, in other words he is an exemplary captain.
This champion was born on 28 January, 1978. He is now 35 years old, at the prime of his career he is ready to lead the Azzurri and the Old Lady to glory. Many critics believe that once Buffon retires, he will be considered the world’s greatest goalkeeper of all time. He has been the most consistent, powerful and successful goalkeeper in the past decade. In addition, he is a true professional and in the sight of his teammates and peers he is the world expert. He has been long known for his skillful ability of shoot-stopping. He has a strong and powerful voice that has allowed him to coordinate and lead the defense in desperate times.
"Gigi Buffon is in every way an original. His talent very quickly made him the No.1 with Italy, whilst his personality, which is never banal, is characterized by great bravery both in his statements to the press and as he comes out to smother the ball at the feet of onrushing players." -Italian journalist Leo Turrini.
During his illustrious career, He won numerous trophies with Parma, Juventus and Italy. He won the UEFA cup and Coppa Italia with Parma while he was only 20 years old. He has also won five Serie A championships with Juventus and has finished runners up in Champions League Final of 2003. With the Italian National team he has won the Under-21 European Championships and The FIFA World Cup. He also finished runners up in the previous European Championships. The only trophy that he has desire to win and has not won yet is the UEFA Champions League.
Buffon has conquered many people’s hearts and has been a hero through-out his career. He was named captain of the Azzurri during the absence of Fabio Cannavaro in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He was just recently named the permanent Juventus captain, after Del Piero’s move to Sydney FC. He has won many personal awards. He has been awarded the Serie A Goalkeeper of the year on nine occasions, which is also a record. Buffon remains to be the only goalkeeper in the world that has been awarded the UEFA Football of the year, he won it in 2003. The IFFHS has recognized Buffon as World Best Goalkeeper in the years 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007. In addition, he has been named World Best Goalkeeper in the 21st century.
Buffon’s fruitful career began at Parma at just age 13. It’s very shocking to hear that the World’s number one goalkeeper started his career as a midfielder. However, that explains his supreme ability to dribble at the back while being under pressure. His inspiration to become a goalkeeper, started to take place in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. It was while he was watching the Cameroon national team goalkeeper Thomas N’Kono that he realized he wanted to become a goalkeeper. His first start in the Serie A with Parma was at age 17 when he kept a clean sheet against AC Milan.
Juventus started to take notice of Buffon during 1997-1998 seasons when he led Parma to win the UEFA cup. In the summer of 2001, Juventus could not wait any longer and they made a serious offer to purchase Buffon. Juventus really made an offer Parma couldn’t refuse. They offered a world-record fee for a goalkeeper for €51,645,690 Euros. Parma accepted the offer and rest became history.
“Its true goals do win matches, but at the end of the day, goalkeepers have the most nerve-racking of making sure the points have been brought home.”
Buffon started his Juventus career under Marcello Lippi. He was given the number one shirt and was brought on to replace the legendary Edwin Van Der Sar. In only his first season with Juventus he led them to win the Serie A and only conceded 22 goals in 34 matches. In his second season with Juventus he led them to a Champions League Finals where he saved two penalties during the shoot-outs. Juventus finished the season as champions and Buffon only conceded 23 goals in the league. Juventus had the best defense in the whole league for two consecutive seasons. In the following season, Juventus did not have the same fortunate and were eliminated from every single competition. In addition, they finished third place in the league.
“The men can go away, the executives can go away, but what is really though in this society are the players who has been handed down the feel of winning, of being the absolute best, which isn't equal to any other team.” –Gianluigi Buffon
Marcello Lippi left Juventus to coach the Azzurri in 2004. Fabio Capello took charge only for two seasons where it was the rise and fall of Juventus Football Club. In 2005, Buffon was seriously injured; he dislocated his shoulder in a friendly match before the start of the new campaign. He was injured for most of the season and Juventus needed a starting goalkeeper so they loaned in, Christian Abbiati. Buffon was able to have a full recovery before the end of the season and helped guide Juventus to his fourth Serie A title.
In the summer of 2006, many players and coaches were charged with crimes of match fixing in Italy. These accusations and rumors included illegal betting and also paying the referees for matches and certain special calls. Most of these rumors were false and Juventus were unjustifiably sent to Serie B. It was as if they were a certain people like Massimo Moratti and Silvio Berlusconi (the playboy) that wanted to put end to Juventus’s long run of success. The only way to stop Juventus was for the Calciopoli to take place.
Despite all of this terrible news, Buffon opted to remain a Juventino. He remained along with Captain Alessandro Del Piero, midfielders Mauro Camoranesi and Pavel Nedvěd, and striker David Trezeguet. Buffon decided to choose loyalty over reputation and dedicated himself to the Juventus cause. He faced many ups and downs from the 2006 through 2011 seasons at Juventus. Many coaches came and went. Buffon was affected by Juventus’s failure to find the right man for the job. Until Juventus find Antonio Conte.
Conte was the man that changed everything for Juventus. He reestablished Buffon’s role to the team and allowed Buffon to become the leader once again. Buffon’s dominance started to reemerge again and he allowed an average of a goal in every two games. He only allowed 16 goals in 35 matches and kept 21 clean sheets through-out Juventus’s unbeaten campaign. Buffon was able to make exactly 81 saves in the league during the 2011-2012 seasons. His average of 82% percent saving percent was greatest number for any goalkeeper playing in Europe. During the course of this season he has been in an exquisite form. He has led Juventus to the quarter finals of the Champions League and also has kept them in the first place in the league.
Buffon was ready to be Italy’s number one goalkeeper for the World Cup 2006. His confidence and leadership was evident through-out the tournament. A decade before the competition he had won the Euro under-21 championship with Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti. There was a lot of passion and chemistry between him and his teammates. In World Cup 2006, Buffon managed to only concede a record of two goals and kept five clean sheets. In addition, he kept away many dangerous attackers from scoring such as Klose, Nedved, Donovan and Shevchenko he kept a clean-sheet for 453-minutes. He was deservedly nominated for the Ballon d’Or and finished runners-up behind Cannavaro.
The World Cup 2006 was the highlight of his international career. After the World Cup 2006, Italy went through a transitional phase with Roberto Donadoni. Donadoni lacked a certain management skill that Lippi had, which was he was able to bring the team together at any circumstances. Italy’s disastrous Euro 2008 campaign forced Donadoni to step down as the Azzurri boss. From then on Italy had two back to back disappointing campaigns, the Confederations cup at 2009 and World Cup 2010 with Lippi managing the side again. In Euro 2012, under coach Cesar Prandelli Buffon began to shine again and he led Italy to a cup final, only to lose to Spain horribly 4-0. With 124 caps, he still going strong and hopes to be the number keeper at the World Cup 2014 and beyond.
Buffon has always remained a cool-headed player through-out his long lasting career. Rarely has he received a red card or a yellow card. He has always been a professional on and off the pitch. All of his teammates and coaches have spoken in the highest regard towards him. Even his opponents respect him. Buffon has won every single individual awards that possible to give to a goalkeeper. He has won many trophies with Juventus and Italy during his career. Goalkeepers are really the most unselfish players in the pitch because they do not receive enough credit for their hard-work. He’s not flashy, he is not arrogant, and he does not allow for mistakes to take place. He is a role model and he has earned his reputation. Once he retires it will be evident to the rest of the world that Gianluigi Buffon is simply world’s greatest goalkeeper of all time.
FORZA JUVE, GRAZIE BUFFON!