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Gianluigi Buffon (born 28 January 1978 in Carraramarker), is an Italian FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper who plays for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He is widely considered by fans and experts to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Early life and family

Gianluigi Buffon was born into an athletic family. His mother, Maria Stella, was a discus thrower, his father, Adriano, a weightlifter, his two sisters Veronica and Guendalina played volleyball and his uncle, Angelo Masocco, played basketball. He is also a nephew of goalkeeping legend Lorenzo Buffon (a cousin of Gianluigi's grandfather). Buffon lives with Czech model Alena Šeredová, who gave birth to son Louis Thomas on 28 December 2007; they are currently expecting their second child. Buffon and Šeredová are not married yet, the couple stated that they will get married after the birth of their second child.

Club career

Early career

At the young age of just 17, Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma in a 0-0 home draw against Milan on 19 November 1995. In his fourth season with the club, he won the UEFA Cup. He transferred from Parma to Juventus in 2001, for a world-record goalkeeper's fee of €51.5 million. Buffon nearly signed with Roma in 2001 following his departure from Parma, but team president Franco Sensi instead opted for Atalanta keeper Ivan Pelizzoli, who averaged less than 15 appearances in five seasons with Roma. Buffon also claimed that he wouldn't have signed with Roma had he left Juventus in 2006. "That was never a possibility really... I don’t think that Roma had the finances to make an investment of such a nature."

Juventus

In 2003, he received the UEFA Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper awards, and was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. During the annual Luigi Berlusconi Trophy match against Milan in August 2005, Buffon collided with Milan midfielder Kaká while chasing a loose ball, and suffered a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. His operation was successful and he returned to the pitch in November, but played only once as another injury returned him to the sidelines until January. He recovered in time to help lead Juventus to their second consecutive Scudetto and his fourth overall with the club.
Juventus F.C. crest in 2004
On 12 May 2006, Buffon, along with former Juventus goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti and many other players, were implicated as participants in illegal betting on Serie A matches while with Parma. The following day, he voluntarily allowed himself to be questioned by Turinmarker magistrates in an attempt to clear his name. While admitting that he did bet on sports (until regulations went into effect in late 2005, banning players from doing so), he vehemently denied placing wagers on Italian football matches. Fears arose that he had jeopardized his chance of playing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but he was officially named Italy's starting goalkeeper on 15 May. The players were cleared of all charges by the FIGC on 27 June 2007.



Following Juventus' punishment in the Calciopoli scandal, rumors spread that Juventus were shopping Buffon on the transfer market as a cost-cutting measure, and many teams became interested in his services. However, no deals ever materialized as Buffon elected to remain with Juventus; his agent said, "Serie B is a division he has never won and he wants to try to do this." AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani stated in April 2007 that Buffon's decision to stay proved a catalyst in re-signing incumbent Dida, though Buffon later denied having ever been contacted by Milan.

After Juventus won the Cadetti and were promoted back into the top flight, Buffon signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2012.

In 2008–09, Buffon was again sidelined by several injuries, having problems with his back but principally a bad groin strain and a pulled muscle. From September-January, Alexander Manninger, Juventus' reserve goalie, held his position between the sticks, and gained a lot of praise for his deputizing. Because of this and Juve's poor form towards the end of the season, as Buffon was seen despondent as the team drew Lecce and Atalanta, there were further rumors that Buffon was upset and wanted to leave. He admitted he was upset but had no intentions to leave. After a discussion with management, he said he was reassured about the future of Juventus and signed a year extension to 2013.

Buffon started out 2009–10 brilliantly, making a string of unbelievable saves against Roma, Lazio, Livorno, Bulgaria, and Georgia leading commentators to sing his praises as once again, the number one goalkeeper in the world.

Intenational career

Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during a qualifer for 1998 FIFA World Cup play-off against Russia. He was called up for the 1998 World Cup finals, but did not play a single game as Pagliuca remained first choice. He was a member of the Italy squad at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. He was also the first choice goalkeeper for Italy at the Euro 2000, but broke his hand in a friendly match against Norway just eight days before the tournament started, and had his starting place taken by Francesco Toldo.

Buffon was in stunning form as he kept five clean sheets in addition to a 453-minute scoreless streak during the 2006 World Cup finals; the only goals conceded were an own goal from teammate Cristian Zaccardo against the United States, and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France, which ended 1-1 in extra time and led to a penalty shootout in which neither Buffon nor Fabien Barthez could save a penalty. The lone miss was David Trezeguet's effort that clanged off the bottom of the crossbar and failed to cross the line, which enabled Italy's Fabio Grosso to seal the victory for the Italians. Buffon received the Yashin Award for his accomplishments throughout the competition.

Buffon was named Italy captain for Euro 2008 after incumbent Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. In the second game of the group stage against Romania on June 13, he saved a penalty from Adrian Mutu in the 81st minute as the match ended 1-1 to keep Italy's hopes alive. Buffon kept a clean sheet against France in the final group game. Italy were eliminated in the quarterfinals nine days later after a 0-0 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon saved 1 penalty.

Career statistics

248||0||9||0||51||0||308||0
416||0||23||0||87||0||526||0


Honours

Parma



Juventus



International



Individual



References

External links



1995–96 Parma Serie A 9 0 - - 9 0
1996–97 27 0 - 1 0 28 0
1997–98 32 0 6 0 8 0 46 0
1998–99 34 0 6 0 11 0 51 0
1999–00 32 0 0 0 9 0 41 0
2000–01 34 0 2 0 7 0 43 0
2001–02 Juventus Serie A 34 0 1 0 10 0 45 0
2002–03 32 0 0 0 15 0 47 0
2003–04 32 0 0 0 6 0 38 0
2004–05 37 0 0 0 11 0 48 0
2005–06 18 0 2 0 4 0 24 0
2006–07 Serie B 37 0 3 0 - 40 0
2007–08 Serie A 34 0 1 0 - 35 0
2008–09 23 0 2 0 5 0 30 0
2009–10 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

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