Gianluigi Buffon, the legendary Italian goalkeeper best known for his time with Juventus and the Italian national team, has officially retired from professional football at the age of 45. The revered keeper, who famously lifted the World Cup for Italy in 2006 and bagged 10 Serie A titles with Juventus, announced his retirement via a poignant social media post.
A Glittering Career Comes to an End
Buffon said farewell to his illustrious 28-year-long career that began in Parma in 1995, stating: “That’s all folks. You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together.” The legendary goalkeeper ended his professional journey at the same place it began, now a Serie B club, after battling with persistent injuries.
Buffon was set to stay with Parma until 2024, but he elected to retire early, possibly due to the team’s failure to gain promotion to Serie A last season and his own recurring problems. Despite these losses, Buffon remained a dedicated and influential football figure.
Breaking Records and Winning Hearts
Buffon set various records during his career. He made an incredible 657 appearances in the Italian first division and is the most capped goalie in history, having represented Italy 176 times.
Buffon’s career highlight undoubtedly was the 2006 World Cup victory, where Italy triumphed over France in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Berlin. He also shone at club level, signing for Juventus for a world record sum of £32.6 million in 2001.
His time with Juventus, which lasted from 2001 to 2018, and a temporary comeback in 2019-2021, was punctuated with a season at Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19, where he added a Ligue 1 title to his resume.
A Flood of Tributes for a ‘Golden Man’
The football world has lavished praise on Buffon, hailing his incredible career. Juventus and PSG, as well as the Italian national team, Serie A, and several football stars, have all paid tribute to the legendary keeper.
Parma president Kyle Krause praised Buffon’s “unparalleled skill, relentless determination, and unwavering passion.” Juventus described Buffon as “the player who has worn out the jersey for the longest and won the most trophies.”
Former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe described Buffon as a “golden man” who provided him “precious advice” that he will remember for the rest of his life.
Gianluigi Buffon’s retirement not only ends an illustrious career, but also marks the departure of one of football’s most iconic figures. As the tributes indicate, his impact on the sport extended far beyond the saves he made and the medals he won. His dedication, leadership, and enduring passion for football will be deeply missed both on and off the pitch.
Here’s a look at his career trajectory:
Parma Calcio FC: 1995–2001
Juventus FC: 2001–2018
Paris Saint-Germain: 2018–2019
Juventus FC: 2019–2021
Parma Calcio FC: 2021–2023