Throughout football history, there have been many quality goalkeepers, but Gianluigi Buffon will always stand out. The Italian had his first professional match in the 1995/96 season, which led to a long and glorious career. Gianluigi Buffon has won, among other achievements, one World Cup, ten Serie A titles, and one Ligue 1 trophy. But what is more shocking about the Italian is that he is still active at 45.
In Buffon’s almost 30 years of professional football, he appeared in almost 1,000 matches for Parma, Juventus, and PSG. Also, ‘Gigi’ Buffon holds the record for the most caps in the Italian national team, with 176 appearances. And he wore the captain band the most times — 80. We are unlikely to see that record broken.
List of Italy national football team captains
Gianluigi Buffon returns to Parma
In the summer of 2021, Gigi Buffon left Juventus and returned to Parma, the club where he started his professional career. Although Parma competes in Serie B, Buffon wears a captain’s armband and still pursues his dreams. He’s had many injury problems this season but has still appeared in 17 league matches. Gigi conceded only 22 goals to help Parma qualify for the Serie B playoff. At the moment of writing, Parma are yet to compete in the playoffs, so Buffon and his team might yet return to the strongest Italian league.
Buffon’s remaining motivation and objectives
At an event a few weeks ago, Buffon talked about his motivation and objectives for the late stages of his career. He said,
My life is about chasing dreams, regardless of how achievable they are. I’m always self-critical and know perfectly well at what stage I am in all of my pursuits and whether I still have something to give or not. My objective is to have fun again because the final years of your career are a bit like the first years; that healthy enjoyment and that healthy passion take over again. Beyond the results you’re required to achieve, there’s that desire to showcase your talent and qualities.
According to Buffon, the atmosphere around Parma helps him a lot. He commented,
If I had to make comparisons, Juventus was like a dad and PSG a friend. During a delicate period, I spent a fantastic year in France, and it restored my confidence and a youthful feeling. Parma is like a mum who helps and is more understanding than the dad and friend. Parma has changed as a city, and I've been struck by the kindness of the people, who really are polite and respectful. This has refreshed me.
In the same interview, Gigi Buffon added,
We’ve achieved our first objective of qualifying for the playoffs. It’s come after a year and a half filled with uncertainties and bumps in the road. This team are starting to have points of reference; we’re starting to have values and become a team. This is the first important aspect. Even if we don’t manage to achieve promotion to Serie A, it’s clear that we’ll start with several certainties next season. With some minor adjustments, we’d be serious contenders to return to the top flight.
When Gianluigi Buffon will retire
During the current season, Gigi Buffon suggested a few times that he intends to retire after the 2023/24 season. If Parma gets back to Serie A in the coming weeks, that would be a perfect present for their captain to retire next season while playing in the strongest Italian competition.
Clean sheets stats by club (appearances and cleen sheets)
Gianluigi Buffon career honours
- 1 FIFA World Cup trophy: 2006
- 1 UEFA Cup trophy: 1998/99 (Parma)
- 10 Serie A titles: 01/02, 02/03, 11/12, 12/13, 13/14, 14/15, 15/16, 16/17, 17/18, 19/20 (Juventus)
- 6 Coppa Italia titles: 98/99 (Parma), 14/15, 15/16, 16/17, 17/18, 20/21 (Juventus)
- 7 Supercoppa Italiana trophies: 99/00 (Parma), 02/03, 03/04, 12/13, 13/14, 15/16, 20/21 (Juventus)
- 1 Ligue 1 title: 18/19 (Paris Saint-Germain)
- 1 French Super Cup trophy: 18/19 (Paris Saint-Germain)
- 1 UEFA Under-21 Champion: 1996
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: the 2002/03 season