The former Italy captain is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time.
Gianluigi Buffon is a name synonymous with goalkeeping excellence and unwavering loyalty. Throughout his illustrious career, Buffon has achieved numerous milestones and accolades that have solidified his status as a footballing legend.
In this article, we will delve into the five moments that defined his legendary journey in the beautiful game.
5- Ballon d’Or Runner-Up
In 2006, following his triumphs in the Serie A with Juventus and the World Cup with Italy, Buffon achieved a historic feat by securing the second position in the Ballon d’Or voting. He narrowly missed winning the prestigious award, finishing behind his teammate Fabio Cannavaro. Lev Yashin, the legendary Soviet goalkeeper, was the last keeper to come so close to claiming the honor in 1963. Buffon’s commendable performance in the Ballon d’Or voting demonstrated the sheer brilliance of his goalkeeping skills and cemented his place among football’s elite.
4- Most Expensive Keeper in the World
During the summer of 2001, Juventus made headlines by investing the staggering sum received from Real Madrid for Zinedine Zidane to bolster their squad. Among the significant acquisitions was a young Gianluigi Buffon, bought from Parma for an astonishing fee of approximately €51 million. This transfer set a world record fee for a goalkeeper at that time and showcased the confidence the club had in Buffon’s immense talent. Over the years, Buffon proved his worth, making over 500 appearances for Juventus, solidifying his position as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
3- Serie A Promotion with Juve
The year 2006 was marred by the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, leading to Juventus’ relegation to Serie B. Despite this turmoil, Buffon displayed unparalleled loyalty to the Bianconeri by staying with the club, unlike many of his illustrious teammates who departed. Despite starting the season with a nine-point deduction, Juventus managed to secure an immediate return to Serie A, thanks in large part to Buffon’s exceptional performances between the posts. As a reward for his dedication, he was offered a new long-term contract, solidifying his status as a true club legend.
2- Goalkeeper of the Decade
Between 2001 and 2011, Buffon’s performances consistently stood out among his peers, earning him the title of “The World’s Best Goalkeeper of the 21st Century’s First Decade” awarded by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics). His dominant displays in the 2000s, coupled with winning multiple club trophies and the 2006 World Cup, showcased his unwavering excellence in the goalkeeping position. Buffon’s consistent brilliance earned him the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award four times during this decade.
1- Winning the World Cup
The pinnacle of Buffon’s career came in 2006 when he played an instrumental role in Italy’s World Cup triumph in Germany. Starting all seven games, he conceded just two goals throughout the tournament, setting a new record. His remarkable save during extra time in the final against Zinedine Zidane ensured Italy’s path to glory. In the final shootout, Buffon’s teammates prevailed, and he was deservedly named the best goalkeeper of the tournament, further cementing his status as a footballing legend.