Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during the Serie A match between Juventus and Verona, May 19, 2018. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
32 years later, Gianluigi Buffon hangs up his crampons where it all began, in Parma. As expected, the goalkeeper of the Yellowblue (Bleu et Jaune), world champion with Italy in 2006, announced on Wednesday August 2 that he was ending his sports career at 45. “It’s over, friends! You gave me everything, I gave you everything. We did it together”wrote the ex-captain of Squadra Azzura (176 selections) on his X account (formerly Twitter) and accompanied by a short video retracing his entire career.
Arrived in Parma in 1991, at the age of 13, the native of Carrara (Tuscany) made his debut in Serie A (Italian first division) on November 19, 1995 when he was not yet of age. Thirsty for titles, Gianluigi Buffon decided to join Juventus in Turin in 2001, where the goalkeeper forged an exceptional record (10 Italian Championships, a record, 6 Italian Cups and 7 Italian Supercups), despite a brief stint in Serie B (Italian second division) following the scandal of the Calciopoli (a match-fixing affair).
Kylian Mbappé’s tribute
656 matches later, the Italian goalkeeper, pushed by its president Andre Agnelli, left Italy for the first time and joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2018. In the capital club, Gianluigi Buffon shares his playing time with the Frenchman Alphonse Areola. And, despite a title of champion of France and a Champions trophy, he does not exercise the option of an additional year of his contract and returns to Juventus, at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Kylian Mbappé, who rubbed shoulders with him for a year, paid tribute to the Italian giant (1.92 meters) on social networks. “A huge honor for me to have had the chance to meet you and cross paths with your legendary career. A golden man with valuable advice that I will keep with me all my life. Have a good journey and above all THANK YOU »wrote the French on Wednesday on his account X.
Goalkeeper most often named to the Ballon d’Or (9 times) – he had been ranked 2nd, in 2006, behind his compatriot Fabio Cannavaro -, Gianluigi Buffon had decided to return to Parma in May 2021 (Serie B club) after two years at Juve, returning to the formation with which he won the 1999 UEFA Cup. Worn out by age (28 seasons and more than 1,100 professional matches), the Italian hero of the 2006 World Cup final won against France (1-1, 5-3 on pens) leaves calmly. The circle is complete.