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Gianluigi Buffon Biography

It is not easy to imagine Italy without its iconic goalkeeper, that was once the idol of many football enthusiasts. Surely, we are talking about the 45-year-old Buffon, who recently hung his boots and decided to put football aside for good.

It’s amazing how we could write a full article only reflecting on Buffon’s trophies, awards, and records. This list goes on and on, and it never ends. He is certainly one of the most successful goalkeepers in Italy. In his 21 years of service for the country, Buffon has assisted Italy in winning a World Cup, which was unironically the best in recent years.

To cherish every moment that Buffon shone in the field, and to celebrate his entry into a new stage of his life, let us begin Gianluigi Buffon Biography.

Footbalium version of Gianluigi Buffon Biography

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In Gianluigi Buffon Biography article, we will relieve some of the most iconic moments of this stalwart goalkeeper.

We will recall Gianluigi Buffon life story from his early life to the end of his career. So, grab a popcorn and stay with us as we premier this movie of Gianluigi Buffon Biography.

Gianluigi Buffon Information

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Before we get to this goalkeeper’s early life, here are Gianluigi Buffon stats provided in a compact view.

  • Gianluigi Buffon Real Name: Gianluigi Buffon
  • Nickname: Gigi Buffon
  • Profession: Former Goalkeeper

Physical Stats

  • Height: 192 cm (6 ft 4 in)
  • Eye Color: Blue
  • Hair Color: Black
  • Weight: 84 kg

Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: January 28, 1978
  • Birthplace: Carrara, Tuscany, Italy
  • Nationality: Italian

Football Information

  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Professional Debut: November 19, 1995

We have lingered enough, so let us hop into Gianluigi Buffon Biography without further ado.

Gianluigi Buffon Early Life

Credit: historyofsoccer.info

Gianluigi Buffon biography starts from January 28, 1978. Despite being of Friulian descent and coming from Latisana, Buffon was born in Carrara, Tuscany. His father, Adriano, was also an athlete, and his older sisters, Guendalina and Veronica, were professional volleyball players. His mother, Maria Stella Masocco, was a three-time Italian champion in shot put and discus throw, and his uncle Dante Masocco played basketball in the Serie A1. He is a second cousin twice removed of Lorenzo Buffon, who plays goal for Milan, Genoa, Inter, Fiorentina, and the Italian national team. The city of Latisana granted him honorary citizenship in June 2017.

Gigi got his first professional football experience when he was six years old. Gianluigi Buffon’s parents enrolled him in Canaletto di La Spazia academy, where he started to train as a midfielder. Yes, you read it right! He started his career as a midfielder and then, later on, became a goalkeeper.

Gianluigi Buffon Profile

Credit: historyofsoccer.info

In 1995, Buffon joined Parma Calcio and soon rose to prominence. He had great reflexes, shot-stopping, and penalty-area control. He was one of Europe’s best young goalkeepers with Parma, winning the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia.

Buffon joined Juventus in 2001 for a record goalkeeper transfer fee. He helped Juventus win three Serie A titles and Italian Cups as a key player. He was vital to the early 2000s Juventus club that dominated Italian football.

Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany thanks to Buffon. Italy won the competition thanks to his great saves. Buffon won the Lev Yashin Award for best goalie after helping Italy win their fourth World Cup.

Buffon remained a top player as he aged. 2018 Buffon joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after a storied Juventus career. He returned to Juventus briefly in 2019, showing his dedication.

In 2021, Buffon returned to Parma Calcio. His return to the club that launched his career showed his passion for football. And now he decided to retire at the age of 45.

Football Career

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Parma’s youth system signed 13-year-old Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon in 1991 after he turned down Bologna and Milan. Due to injuries in the Parma young team’s goalkeeper position, he switched from outfield to goalie.

Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma in 1995, preserving a clean sheet against Milan. He became Parma’s first-choice goalkeeper and helped them win. Parma won the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup under him.

Buffon joined Juventus in 2001 for a goalie record price. He helped Juventus win Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. Buffon won Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year and IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper. This goalkeeper supported Juventus through the Calciopoli scandal and relegation, helping them return to Serie A. He won the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Italy.

Gianluigi Buffon’s career with Juventus led the team back to Serie A after their relegation in the 2006–07 season. Buffon won numerous awards, including Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year, and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year. In the 2011–12 season, Buffon set a league record of 21 clean sheets and helped Juventus to win the Serie A title. He continued to excel in subsequent seasons, reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 2015 and winning multiple domestic trophies.

In the 2015-2016 season, Gianluigi Buffon set a remarkable Serie A record with 974 minutes without conceding a goal, surpassing legends like Dino Zoff and Sebastiano Rossi. He achieved 21 clean sheets in the league, leading Juventus to their fifth consecutive Serie A title. Buffon’s impressive performances earned him accolades, including Juventus Player of the Season and a sixth-place finish in the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He also signed a contract extension with the club.

End of a Legend

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Gianluigi Buffon achieved several milestones in the 2016-2017 season, becoming the first goalkeeper to win the Golden Foot Award and making his 100th Champions League appearance. He received numerous nominations for awards, including the Ballon d’Or and Best FIFA Men’s Player Award. Buffon’s impressive form earned him accolades, such as the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year and a spot in the UEFA Team of the Year. Despite a Champions League final defeat, Buffon’s exceptional performances continued into his final season with Juventus, where he secured his ninth Serie A title and left the club after 17 successful years.

Gianluigi Buffon signed with Paris Saint-Germain in 2018 and returned to Juventus in 2019. He achieved several milestones, including becoming the second-oldest player to debut in the Champions League. Buffon played a rotational role but still made significant contributions. Back at Juventus, he broke appearance records in Serie A and Champions League and recorded a historic clean sheet against Barcelona. Buffon announced he would leave Juventus after the 2020-2021 season, ending his illustrious career with a Coppa Italia victory and six titles.

After leaving Juventus, Gianluigi Buffon returned to his boyhood club, Parma, in June 2021. During his time with Parma, he achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first goalkeeper in men’s association football to keep 500 clean sheets. In February 2022, his contract was extended until 2024. However, on August 2, 2023, at 45, Buffon announced his retirement from professional football, ending his remarkable 28-year playing career.

International Career

Credit: Reuters

Gianluigi Buffon biography doesn’t end here, because he had an illustrious international career, representing Italy at various youth levels and becoming the senior national team captain. He made his senior debut for Italy on October 29, 1997, at the age of 19 years and nine months. Buffon played a crucial role in Italy’s successes at the 2006 World Cup, where he set a record by conceding just two goals in the tournament and won the Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper. He was also part of the squad that reached the final of Euro 2012.

Buffon continued to be a key player for Italy in the following years, participating in multiple European Championships and World Cup qualifiers. He became Italy’s most-capped player and held the European record for the most international appearances. However, Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup led Buffon to announce his retirement from international football. He initially indicated that he would not return, but he made a brief comeback for Italy’s March friendlies in 2018 before finally confirming his retirement from the national team. Throughout his international career, Buffon was admired for his leadership, goalkeeping prowess, and passion for representing his country.

Gianluigi Buffon’s Playing Style

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Buffon had a wide range of goalkeeping skills throughout his prime, making him a talented and all-around player. His fearlessness, aggressiveness, and spontaneous reactions were highly regarded in one-on-one scenarios. Buffon was noted for his quickness, anticipation, and confidence as he rushed off his line to confront opponents. He had excellent goalkeeping technique, quick thinking, and the ability to quickly parry or collect shots while frequently making excellent use of his feet. He thrived as a sweeper-keeper for teams that used high defensive lines and zonal marking, frequently leaving his area to clear the ball or confront opponents who had overcome the offside trap.

Aside from his goalkeeping abilities, Buffon was praised for his handling, aerial skill, and authoritative presence in the penalty area, notably when defending against high balls. However, he received criticism from certain pundits for occasionally being overly cautious with crosses and failing to constantly come out and claim them. He also got criticism for preferring to smash the ball out to his teammates rather than cling to it.

Buffon’s footwork and consistent distribution helped him adapt to more modern systems that required goalkeepers to play with their feet and be engaged in creating plays while not being as skilled with the ball as the new goalkeepers. He could play ground passes to his defenders, launch quick counterattacks, and find teammates further up the field or out wide with his right foot’s deft kicks because of his confidence in possession. Even as a young man, he could confront opponents under pressure from approaching strikers.

Reception

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From his early days as a talented youngster, Buffon displayed remarkable consistency throughout his career, earning praise from managers, players, and fellow goalkeepers for his unwavering focus, composure under pressure, exceptional work ethic, and enduring longevity. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players, he became the epitome of the modern goalkeeper.

He served as a significant influence and role model for numerous aspiring goalkeepers who followed him. Admirers have described him as an agile, strong, authoritative shot-stopper boasting vast experience at the highest level. He is recognized as an accomplished and highly respected keeper, possessing excellent positional awareness, courage, power, and class.

But what Legacy has he left behind? More on that on the next section of Gianluigi Buffon biography.

Gianluigi Buffon’s Legacy

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Buffon is regarded as one of the all-time great goalkeepers and, by some, the best goalkeeper of all time by players, analysts, and managers. The foreword to his 2008 autobiography, “Numero 1” (Number 1), by Roberto Perrone, lauds him as “the greatest goalkeeper in the world, one of the four or five that will always be remembered in the annals of world football.” He was second among goalkeepers in The Guardian’s 2012 list of the world’s 20 best footballers, behind Iker Casillas. On September 2, 2014, Buffon received the esteemed Nereo Rocco Prize in celebration of his illustrious career.

In 2015, France Football recognized his continuing brilliance by ranking him among the top 10 players in the world over the age of 36. He was later chosen the best goalie in UEFA Champions League history in an official UEFA online Twitter poll after the magazine named him the best goalkeeper in history in 2016. In addition, UEFA named him as the third-greatest player ever to have won the Champions League in 2015 and FourFourTwo in their list of “The 25 best players never to win the Champions League” for 2019.

Buffon was named the “Greatest Goalkeeper Ever” in a poll conducted by readers of Eurosport.com, while Sky Sports listed him as the fourth-best player ever not to have won the Champions League or European Cup in May 2020. These honors and awards highlight Buffon’s long legacy and his position as one of football’s most revered and renowned goalkeepers.

Gianluigi Buffon Honors

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If we were to talk about all of his trophies and awards in this section of Gianluigi Buffon biography, it would have been so lengthy. So, instead, we have presented his most important honors.

His journey began at Parma, where he achieved remarkable success, including winning the Coppa Italia in the 1998-99 season, the Supercoppa Italiana in 1999, and the UEFA Cup in 1998-99.

Later, Buffon became synonymous with excellence and domination during his legendary tenure at Juventus. He claimed an astonishing 10 Serie A titles in the 2001-02, 2002-03, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2019-20 seasons, demonstrating his unmatched consistency and leadership in goal. He also played a key role in Juventus’ Serie B triumph in the 2006-07 campaign.

In addition to his domestic success, Buffon excelled on the European stage, reaching the UEFA Champions League final on three occasions in the 2002-03, 2014-15, and 2016-17 seasons. Although he narrowly missed out on lifting the prestigious trophy, his performances were nothing short of exceptional.

Moreover, he holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A with 657 matches and is second on Juventus’ all-time appearances list with 685 appearances, trailing only Alessandro Del Piero. Furthermore, he has the most all-time minutes played for Juventus in all competitions, with an impressive 61,412 minutes.

His career-long dedication to his craft and his consistent excellence have solidified Buffon’s place among football’s all-time greats. His contributions, both on and off the pitch, have left an indelible mark on the sport, and he will forever be remembered as one of the finest goalkeepers in football history.

Gianluigi Buffon Outside Professional life

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Gianluigi Buffon biography last section includes his life story outside the field. Buffon’s family has a strong sports background, with his mother, father, and other relatives excelling in various sports. He married Czech model Alena Šeredová in 2011, and they have two children. However, the couple separated in 2014, and Buffon began a relationship with Italian sports pundit Ilaria D’Amico. Gianluigi Buffon’s GF will soon become his wife.

Throughout his life, Buffon has been involved in charity work and philanthropy, supporting causes such as fighting against racism (“Respect Diversity” Programme) and promoting diversity in football. He has also ventured into business, owning shares in companies and launching his own brand of wine (“Buffon #1”).

Buffon’s career hasn’t been without controversies. He faced criticism for wearing the number 88 shirt due to its neo-Nazi connotations but claimed ignorance of the symbolism. In 2000, he was accused of falsifying a high school diploma to enroll in a university degree program and later paid a fine for the offense. Buffon was also embroiled in the Calciopoli scandal and faced allegations of illegal betting on matches. His emotional outburst and subsequent red card during a Champions League match against Real Madrid also drew significant attention and resulted in a suspension from UEFA competitions.

This was everything about Gianluigi Buffon. Hope you enjoyed the article!

Matthias David
Matthias David
If there is one thing that Matthias is passionate about its writing informative articles about football. Matthias is an architect. He creates complex bodies of information in the form of clear and concise article pieces. What a lovely paradox!
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