Gianluigi Buffon has played professional football longer than I have been alive.
His career has been nothing short of extraordinary. Making his senior debut at the mere age of 17 in November 1995, Gigi kept a memorable clean sheet against eventual league champions A.C. Milan.
After joining Parma’s youth academy in 1991 and spending a decade at the club, Buffon made the record transfer to Juventus. Sticking with the club after the demotion to the second division, Gigi became a legend for Italy’s most successful club.
In 17 years with the Bianconeri, Buffon has won more Scudetti than any other player in history. Always dependable between the goalposts, he came to epitomize Juventus Football Club. Leaving the club on a seven-year title run is almost impossible to top. It is hard to imagine Gigi not representing Juventus on the pitch but that has now become a reality.
The sole certainty for each Azzurri match over the past two decades was Buffon belting out the national anthem with unwavering pride. It’s a true shame he won’t be able to participate in what would have been his sixth World Cup this summer. Nonetheless, an entire nation will forever be grateful to Gigi for his years of illustrious service.
Too many awards, trophies, and records have been accumulated over the last 23 years to mention. While Buffon has remarkably remained at the top level of football for two decades, there’s also been something else that has set him apart.
Passion, eloquence, leadership.
Buffon has set an example with the utmost professional attitude. Don’t let his recent comments regarding referee Michael Oliver taint his legacy. Yes, he wrong and crossed a line but that should not overshadow the previous 20+ years of his career.
The one trophy Gigi didn’t manage to get his hands on was the Champions League. He has undoubtedly earned the right to continue his career and may even look to snatch the one trophy that has escaped him. Perhaps, it would be too much of a fairytale for a return to his boyhood club Parma, after they just achieved a historic promotion to Serie A.
Whether he hangs up his boots or continues playing, Gianluigi Buffon will no doubt go down in history as one of the all-time great goalkeepers.
Everyone at Get Italian Football News wishes him well in whatever he decides to do next.