• Monday, 04 March 2024

Italian football player Gianluigi Buffon has announced his retirement

Why are flying foxes turning up in strange places?

Football icon Gianluigi Buffon is reportedly on the brink of announcing his retirement from professional play at the age of 45.

Having graced the fields for Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Parma, and the Italian national team, Buffon is universally regarded as one of the most exceptional goalkeepers in the history of the sport. According to credible reports from Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Buffon is poised to bring his illustrious career to a close by mutually concluding his contract a year ahead of schedule.

Sources suggest that Buffon's post-retirement plans entail assuming the pivotal role of Head of Delegation for the Italian national team, a significant position previously held by the late Gianluca Vialli, who passed away in January. 

Buffon's remarkable journey in professional football spans an impressive 28 years, punctuated by an enviable list of accomplishments. His trophy-laden cabinet boasts an astonishing ten Serie A titles, six Coppa Italia triumphs, and an additional Ligue 1 championship. Furthermore, he proudly secured victory in the 2006 World Cup as a stalwart member of the Italian national team.

The accolades continue on an individual level, with Buffon amassing a wealth of prestigious awards. These include the coveted International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) Goalkeeper of the Decade honor, an extraordinary thirteen Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year distinctions, and an esteemed position within Juventus' esteemed Greatest Team of All Time roster. The records he has set are equally impressive, notably including the highest number of appearances for Italy (176) and in Serie A (657).

The pinnacle of Buffon's illustrious career materialized during Italy's triumphant campaign in the 2006 World Cup hosted in Germany. Notably, he played a pivotal role as Italy reached the final of Euro 2012, ending as runners-up. While most commonly associated with his tenure at Juventus, it is worth acknowledging that Buffon's journey commenced at Parma. Here, he was a crucial member of the squad that clinched the coveted Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup double during the 1998/99 season.

 

In a significant transfer that captured global attention, Buffon embarked on a then-record-breaking £44 million move to Italian powerhouse Juventus in the summer of 2001, a move that solidified his reputation as one of the sport's giants. Over a span of 17 years in Turin, he secured an impressive ten league titles across two separate spells. Notably, he also spent the 2018/19 season with Paris Saint-Germain, further adding to his accomplishments. His time with the Old Lady was further highlighted by five Coppa Italia victories and six Supercoppa Italiana titles. Yet, despite his unparalleled success, the elusive Champions League title remained beyond his grasp.

In 2021, Buffon made an emotional return to Parma, a club he previously helped to prominence. However, this second stint was accompanied by a challenge, as Parma was undergoing a relegation from the top tier of Italian football. In an emotional turn of events, Buffon experienced the disappointment of seeing his team fall short in the Serie B play-offs, failing to secure promotion back to Serie A.

Nevertheless, this minor setback serves as a mere footnote in an unparalleled and iconic career that has solidified Gianluigi Buffon's standing as one of football's all-time greats.