- Category : Football Player
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (16,20,45)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 4
Gianluigi ,Gigi" Buffon, Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: born 28 January 1978 in Carrara, Italy), is a FIFA World Cup-winning Italian goalkeeper who is currently the Captain for both Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He is widely considered by experts to be one of the most dominant and successful goalkeepers in history. He is known for his "outstanding shot-stopping" and for being "a vocal organizer of the defence and a key dressing room personality.
Buffon was declared by Pelé to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world. He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record nine times and was the winner of the 2006 Yashin Award following Italys World Cup victory, in which Buffon was also elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament; an honour which he also received after reaching the final of the 2012 European Championships. Buffon is the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award, which he won in 2003; he also won the award for best Goalkeeper that year and was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In 2006, Buffon also placed second in the Ballon d'Or and was elected to be part of the FIFPro World XI in 2006 and 2007.
He has been named the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) goalkeeper of the year four times and was named goalkeeper of the 21st century and of the decade by the same organisation.
Youth career and beginnings at Parma
Buffon began his career with the youth system of Parma in 1991 at the age of 13. He initially played as a Midfielder before switching to the position of Goalkeeper. His idol Thomas N'Kono, who was the Cameroon national team's starting goalkeeper in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, inspired this change of position.
He graduated from the youth squad in 1995 and at the age of 17, he made his Serie A debut for Parma, keeping a clean sheet in a 0–0 home draw against eventual Serie A Champions Milan on 19 November 1995. He went on to make eight more first team appearances that season as well as one appearance in the Coppa Italia as Parma were eliminated in the second round. Parma finished in sixth place in Serie A that season, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Parma also reached the Quarter finals of the 1995–96 European Cup Winners' Cup that season, although Buffon did not make any appearances in that tournament.
1996–2001: Making the Starting Eleven, Early Success and Recognition
In the 1996–97 Serie A season, his second full season with the club, Buffon was named as the starting goalkeeper ahead of Luca Bucci and would eventually go on to make well over 200 appearances for Parma in all competitions during his time at the club. Parma finished the 1996–97 season as runners-up to Serie A Champions Juventus, allowing them to qualify for the UEFA Champions League the following season. Buffon conceded 17 goals in 27 appearances. Parma were once again eliminated in the second round of the Coppa Italia and in the first round of the UEFA Cup that season.
In the 1997–98 season, Parma finished in fifth place in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia semi-finals, whilst they were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League, finishing second in their group to defending champions Borussia Dortmund.
In his fourth season with the club, Buffon won his only European Trophy to date, the UEFA Cup, as well as winning the Coppa Italia. Parma finished the Serie A season in fourth place, one point from Fiorentina in the third place spot. Buffon's performances that season earned him his first Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year Award and the Bravo Award, the trophy given to the best Under 23 player in Europe. Buffon also placed fifth in the IFFHS goalkeeper of the year rankings.
In the following season, he won his first Supercoppa Italiana title against Serie A Champions Milan and Parma finished the Serie A season in fourth place, tied with Inter for the final remaining Champions League spot. Parma however lost to Inter on aggregate in the playoff matches failing to qualify for the Champions League. They were knocked out in the round of 16 of both the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia that season.
In the 2000–01 season, Buffon helped lead Parma to another Coppa Italia Final, in which they were defeated by Fiorentina. They were eliminated in the third round of the UEFA Cup that season. Parma also finished the season in fourth place for the third consecutive season, which allowed them to go through to the Champions League qualifying round. Buffon was voted Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in his career. Buffon also placed third in the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the year award.
In the summer of 2001, Buffon was sold to Juventus for a world-record goalkeeper's transfer fee of 100 billion lire, (€51,645,690) (Or €51.956 million including other minor cost that could be capitalized) with part of the transfer fees paid via the transfer of Jonathan Bachini to Parma.
2001–2004: Dominance under Lippi
Buffon transferred from Parma to Juventus in the summer of 2001 for €55 million and was handed the number 1 shirt as the starting goalkeeper, replacing former keeper Edwin Van der Sar, who had been sold to Fulham. In his first season with Juventus, Buffon appeared in 45 official matches, helping his team to the Serie A title, as Juventus finished the season with the best defence in Italy, with Buffon conceding 22 goals in 34 matches. Juventus also finished as runners-up in the Coppa Italia that season to Buffon's former club Parma. Juventus were eliminated in the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Buffon was awarded his third Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year Award at the end of the season for his performances.
At the beginning of the 2002–03 season, Juventus won the 2002 Supercoppa Italiana against Parma. Buffon totalled 47 appearances, of which 32 were in Serie A that season, also helping Juventus to the UEFA Champions League Final, only for his team to lose in a penalty shoot-out to Milan, although Buffon managed to save two penalties. Juventus were knocked out in the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia, although they did manage to celebrate their second consecutive Serie A title in two years that season. Juventus once again finished the season with the best defence, with Buffon conceding 23 goals in 32 appearances. In 2003, Buffon received the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the fourth time. He also became the first goalkeeper ever to win the UEFA Most Valuable Player or UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award and won the UEFA Best Goalkeeper award, being elected as part of the UEFA Team of the Year. He was named the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year for the first time in his career.
Buffon began the 2003–04 season by avenging the Champions League final loss of the previous season as Juventus defeated Milan on penalties in the 2003 Supercoppa Italiana, with Buffon saving a penalty in the shootout. Juventus were eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions League that season by Deportivo La Coruña and finished the Serie A season in a disappointing 3rd place, although they managed to reach the Coppa Italia Final, losing to Lazio. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004 and was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the fifth time. He was once again elected as the Goalkeeper for the UEFA Team of the Year and as the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year.
2004–2006: Capello, Calciopoli and relegation
In the summer of 2004, Lippi left Juventus to take charge of the Italian National Team and was replaced by manager Fabio Capello. In his fourth season with the club, Buffon made 38 appearances in Serie A and 48 in all competitions that season as he won his third Serie A title in four years with Juventus, winning once again the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award for the sixth time in his career. Juventus were knocked out in the Quarter-finals of the Champions League against eventual winners Liverpool and in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia.
In August 2005, Buffon collided with Milan attacking-midfielder Kaká during the annual pre-season Trofeo Luigi Berlusconi match and suffered a dislocated shoulder, requiring surgery. After a successful operation, he returned to the starting line-up in November, but suffered a second injury, sidelining him again until January. Milan's goalkeeper, Christian Abbiati, was loaned to the club, to fill in for the injured Buffon, who managed to recover in time to help participate in winning Juventus’ second consecutive Serie A title in two years and his fourth overall with the club. Juventus were however once again knocked out in the quarter finals of the Champions League to runners up Arsenal and in the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia on away goals to runners up Roma, although he would later help lead Italy to victory at the 2006 World Cup. Buffon was named IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year for the third time in his career and Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the seventh time. He was also placed second in the 2006 Ballon d'Or and eighth in the FIFA World Player of the Year Award behind Italy team mate Fabio Cannavaro, and was elected as the starting goalkeeper for both the 2006 FIFPro XI and the UEFA Team of the Year.
On 12 May 2006, several players, including Buffon, were accused of participating in illegal betting on Serie A matches. Buffon voluntarily co-operated, allowing himself to be interrogated by Turin magistrates. While admitting that he did place bets on sporting matches (until regulations went into effect in late 2005, banning players from doing so), he vehemently denied placing wagers on Italian football matches. Despite initial concerns that he had jeopardised his chance of playing for Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he was officially named Italy's starting goalkeeper on 15 May and helped lead Italy to win their fourth title. Buffon was cleared of all charges by the FIGC on 27 June 2007. Following Juventus' punishment in the Calciopoli scandal, in which their two most recent Serie A titles were stripped and the squad were relegated to Serie B and penalised with a point deduction, rumours spread that Buffon would be placed on the transfer market. Buffon elected to remain with Juventus, despite the team's relegation
2007–2010: Serie B Champions and Return to Serie A
After Juventus won the Serie B title in the 2006–07 season, promoting them back to Serie A, Buffon signed a contract extension with Juventus until 2012. Despite not having played in Serie A or in Europe that season, and only reaching the third round of the Coppa Italia, he was elected as the goalkeeper for the 2007 FIFPro XI for the second consecutive year and the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the year for a record breaking fourth time.
Buffon was a key player for Juventus in the 2007–08 Serie A season, as he helped Juventus to a third place finish as well as UEFA Champions League qualification in their first season back in the top flight. Juventus lost to runners up Inter in the Coppa Italia quarter finals. Buffon was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the eighth time in his career.
In 2008–09 Serie A, Buffon was once again sidelined by several injuries, having problems with his back but principally a bad groin strain and a pulled muscle. From September through January, new Juventus reserve keeper Alexander Manninger held his position between the sticks, gaining praise for his deputizing. Due to recurring injuries, Manninger’s performances and Juventus poor form towards the end of the season (as Buffon was seen despondent whilst the team drew with both Lecce and Atalanta), there were further rumours that Buffon was displeased and wanted to part ways with the club. He admitted he was disappointed with the current results, but assured that he had no intention of leaving. After a discussion with management, he said he was reassured about the future of Juventus and signed a year extension to 2013. Buffon and Juventus finished the season on a high note however, with two victories, allowing them to finish in second place, behind Inter. They were knocked out of the Coppa Italia semi-finals by eventual champions Lazio and of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 by semi-finalists Chelsea.
Juventus and Buffon began the 2009–10 Serie A season strongly, although the squad suffered a severe dip in form as they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, finishing third in their group. They were subsequently eliminated in the Round of 16 of the Europa League against Fulham. Juventus were knocked out in the Quarter Finals of the Coppa Italia to eventual Champions Inter and finished the Serie A season in a disappointing seventh place, meaning that they had to qualify for the 2010–11 Europa League through the playoff round. Buffon was often sidelined that season, having endured several recurring injuries. In 2010, Buffon was voted goalkeeper of the decade by IFFHS.
Buffon did not play for the first half of the 2010–11 Serie A season as he was recovering from surgery from an injury from the World Cup. His new deputy, Marco Storari, replaced him throughout the injury. Juventus were knocked out of the Europa League group stage with 6 draws, the Coppa Italia in the quarter finals and finished the Serie A season in seventh place, failing to qualify for Europe for the first time since the 1990–91 Season.
2011–present: The Conte era and the return to victory
During 2011–12 Juventus were once again a dominating force in Serie A. Buffon made numerous notable and important saves, including stopping a penalty kick from Francesco Totti, which impeded Roma from taking the lead in an eventual 1–1 draw in Rome. Buffon's fine form at the end of the first half of the season allowed him to be elected as Juventus ' the player of the month in December 2011 by fans.
A clean sheet in Juventus's Derby d'Italia victory over Inter took Buffon to his 15th shutout in 27 matches, with an average of just over one goal conceded every two matches. After the match he was described as "the best goal-keeper in Italy and probably the World. " Juventus eventually finished the season unbeaten, winning their first Scudetto since the Calciopoli scandal allowing them to participate once again in the UEFA Champions League the following season after a two year absence. Buffon described it as the second highest point of his career, after the 2006 World Cup victory. He obtained 21 clean sheets and only conceded 16 goals from 35 appearances (an average of 0.46 goals per game) as Juventus became the European team with the second best defence that season, after Porto. Buffon made 81 saves in Serie A that season and his 82 percent save percentage was the highest of any goalkeeper playing in one of Europe's five major leagues.–12 Serie A Team of the Season for his performances. Juventus also made the Coppa Italia Final that season, although Buffon did not play in this competition, allowing second keeper Marco Storari to compete for the trophy.
Juventus were runners-up to Napoli in the final.
On 11 August 2012, Buffon lifted his first trophy as the new Juventus captain, following Alessandro Del Piero's departure. Juventus defeated Napoli 4–2 in extra time in the 2012 Supercoppa Italiana Final in Beijing. Buffon suffered a minor injury and was not able to partake in the first Serie A match of the 2012–13 season against Parma on 25 August 2012. He was replaced by Marco Storari and Juventus won the match 2–0. He returned to the starting line-up for the next match against Udinese in Udine on 2 September, wearing the captain's armband. Juventus won the match 4–1.
On 20 September, for Juventus' first UEFA Champions League match of the season against current title holders Chelsea in London, Buffon made his 400th Club appearance for Juventus across all competitions. The match ended in a 2–2 draw. Buffon obtained his first clean sheet of the season in a 2–0 home win against Chievo on 22 September.
Buffon was nominated for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or and the 2012 UEFA Team of the Year, along with Juventus and Italy team mate Andrea Pirlo, following his performances throughout the calendar year. He obtained his first Champion's League clean sheet against Nordsjaelland on 7 November, a match which Juventus won 4–0 at the Juventus Stadium. He also kept clean sheets as Juventus beat defending champions Chelsea 3–0 at home, and also in Juventus' 1–0 away win against Shakhtar Donetsk, which allowed Juventus to top their group undefeated and advance to the knockout stages for first time since the 2008–09 tournament. This was also Buffon's 100th club appearance in European Competitions.
Buffon kept a clean sheet in a 1–0 Coppa Italia win against Cagliari, the only goal of the match coming from team mate Sebastian Giovinco, allowing Juventus to progress to the Quarter Finals of the tournament. On 16 December, Juventus defeated Atalanta 3–0, allowing Juventus to once again claim the unofficial title of 'Serie A Winter Champions', with the best defence in Serie A, having only conceded 10 goals in 17 matches. This was also Buffon's 20th clean sheet in 2012, the most of any other goalkeeper in Europe. Buffon was voted second in the IFFHS goalkeeper of the year award, behind Spanish Euro 2012 winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas and was named as goalkeeper of the century by the same organisation, ahead of Casillas by a single point.
On 23 January 2013, Buffon signed a contract extension with Juventus, keeping him at the club until 2015. On 27 January 2013, Buffon was awarded the Serie A goalkeeper of the year award for the ninth time in his career, for his performances during the 2011–12 season.
Buffon during Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia
Youth career, early call-ups and Euro 2000 qualification
Buffon was a member of Italy's 1996 UEFA under-21 championship winning squad. The squad also contained Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti, who ten years later would, along with Buffon, be members of Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup winning team. He was also selected as the backup goalkeeper for Italy's 1996 Olympic team. However, Italy did not qualify for the second round, losing their opening two matches to Mexico and Ghana.
Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy's senior team under Cesare Maldini on 29 October 1997, at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during the first leg of the 1998 World Cup qualification play-off against Russia played in Moscow. He was a member of the squad for the 1998 World Cup finals, but did not play a single game as Pagliuca remained first choice.
Buffon became the first choice goalkeeper during the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign and was due to start in goal during the finals under manager and former Italy goalkeeping legend Dino Zoff, but he broke his hand in a warm up match against Norway, just a few days before Italy's opening match against Turkey. His starting place was taken by backup goalkeeper Francesco Toldo and Christian Abbiati was called up as a replacement third keeper, with Francesco Antonioli being promoted to second keeper.
Buffon in the Italy National Football Team at the 2006 World Cup.
Trapattoni era: World Cup and European Championship debut
Toldo's impressive performances at Euro 2000, which included a match winning performance in the semi-final, meant that he retained his place in the team for the beginning of Italy's 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign. However, Buffon regained the goalkeeping spot for the fourth match of the qualification series, away to Romania, and was the starting goalkeeper for the remaining four matches under Giovanni Trapattoni as Italy qualified with an unbeaten record.
Buffon played every minute of Italy's 2002 World Cup campaign, keeping a clean-sheet in the opening match against Ecuador, and saving a controversial penalty against co-hosts South Korea in the Round of 16, which was not enough to stop the under-performing side from being eliminated by a golden goal in extra time. He also featured in every match in 2004 European Championships, keeping a clean-sheet against Denmark, though Italy, despite not losing a match, once again underperformed, and were eliminated in the first round on direct encounters following a three way 5 point tie with Sweden and Denmark.
Lippi era: 2006 World Champion
Buffon was once again the first choice goalkeeper under his former Juventus coach, and Trapattoni's replacement, Marcello Lippi, as Italy finished first in their 2006 World Cup Qualifying group.
During the 2006 World Cup finals, Buffon was in stunning form, as he conceded a World Cup record two goals and kept five clean sheets, in addition to a 453-minute scoreless streak. The only goals he conceded were not in open play; an own goal by teammate Cristian Zaccardo after a free-kick against the United States and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France. Buffon made an important save in extra time on a header from eventual Golden Ball winner Zinedine Zidane. The match ended 1–1 after extra-time and was followed by a penalty shootout in which neither Buffon nor Fabien Barthez saved a spot kick. The lone miss was David Trezeguet's effort which hit the bottom of the crossbar and failed to cross the line, enabling Italy's Fabio Grosso to seal the victory for Italy.
Buffon received the Yashin Award for his accomplishments throughout the competition and was elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament. Buffon recorded five clean sheets in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and has a career total of six. Buffon also finished second to compatriot Cannavaro in the 2006 Ballon d'Or and 8th in the FIFA World Player of the Year for his performances that season and was selected to be the goalkeeper for the 2006 FIFPro World XI.
After the World Cup victory: Donadoni, and Lippi's return
Buffon was named Italy captain under Donadoni 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 13 June, he saved an 81st minute penalty from Adrian Mutu as the match ended 1–1 to keep Italy's hopes alive. Buffon kept a clean sheet against France in the final group game, helping Italy to a 2–0 win, allowing them to advance to the quarter-finals. Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals nine days later, when a 0–0 draw after extra-time led to a 4–2 penalty shootout loss to eventual champions Spain. Buffon saved one penalty in the shootout and was elected to be part of the team of the tournament.
Upon Lippi's return, Buffon was confirmed as the starting keeper. He played all three group matches during Italy's disappointing 2009 Confederations Cup Campaign in South Africa, in which they finished third in their group in three-way three point tie. He retained his position and earned his 100th cap on 14 November 2009 in a friendly match against the Netherlands. He was a key player in Italy's World Cup Qualifying campaign as they finished top of their group, undefeated.
In the 2010 World Cup, Buffon was replaced at half-time in Italy's 1–1 draw in their opening group stage match against Paraguay after he had a problem with his sciatic nerve. He did not play again in the tournament and was substituted by his deputy Federico Marchetti. Italy disappointed and failed to win a match. They were eliminated from the World Cup, finishing last in their group with two points. Lippi was dismissed after the World Cup.
Prandelli era: Italy captain and Euro 2012 runner-Up
After the international retirement of Cannavaro, Buffon became the new captain of the national team under the new manager Cesare Prandelli. On 9 February 2011, after recovering from a back injury, Buffon played his first game as official captain in the friendly match against Germany played in Dortmund. On 15 November 2011, in a friendly match against Uruguay, Buffon surpassed Dino Zoff's number of caps for Italy, putting him behind only the retired former Italy captains Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini. He was subsequently selected as Italy's starting goalkeeper and captain for Euro 2012, along with six other Juventus players, after leading Italy as captain to qualify for the tournament undefeated in their group and in official competitive matches, only having conceded 2 goals.
Buffon in the Italy National Football Team at the Euro 2012 against England.
At UEFA Euro 2012 Buffon acted as captain during the entire tournament. He kept a clean-sheet against Ireland in the third group-stage match, and against England, saving a crucial penalty from Ashley Cole in the quarterfinal shootout, in which he was elected man of the match. In the semi-final match against Germany, Buffon made several important saves, only being beaten by a penalty by Mesut Özil in the 92nd minute. Italy won the match 2–1 and advanced to the final against defending European and World Champions Spain, with whom Italy had drawn 1–1 in the opening group stage match, only having conceded 3 goals. The semifinal victory automatically qualified Italy for the 2013 Confederations Cup regardless of the result in the final, since Spain had previously won the 2010 World Cup. Italy were beaten 4–0 in the final as Spain claimed a record third consecutive major trophy, and their second consecutive European Championship title. Buffon was once again chosen to be part of the team of the tournament for his performances.
Style of play
Buffon is widely considered by experts to be one of the most dominant and successful goalkeepers in history, having won numerous, prestigious individual and team awards, on several occasions. These include the UEFA Goalkeeper and UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, the IFFHS and Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year Awards and the Yashin Award after his 2006 World Cup Victory with Italy. He has also won the FIFPro World XI Goalkeeper award and placed second in the 2006 Ballon d'Or. Buffon was named goalkeeper of the 21st Century and of the decade by IFFHS.
Buffon has been described as "an agile, commanding shot-stopper who is hugely experienced at the highest level" and "an accomplished and well respected keeper" with "an excellent positional sense, courage, power and class". He has been praised for his "outstanding shot-stopping" and is known for being "a vocal organizer of the defence, a true captain, a leader and a key dressing room personality".
While at Parma, Buffon's decision to wear the number 88 shirt for the 2000–01 season caused controversy in Italy. However, Buffon claimed to be unaware of the number's neo-Nazi connotations, stating that 88 represented four balls, which the wise man possesses as symbols of the character and attributes of a person. He stated that they were meant to signify his rebirth after his injury. He subsequently offered to change numbers, choosing the squad number 77.
Gianluigi Buffon was born into a family of Italian athletes. His mother, Maria Stella, was a discus thrower and his father, Adriano, was a weightlifter. Buffon’s two sisters, Veronica and Guendalina, played volleyball for the Italian National Volleyball Team, and his uncle, Dante Masocco, was a basketball player in Serie A1, who also represented the National Team. Former Inter, Milan and Italy Goalkeeper, Lorenzo Buffon, is a cousin of Gianluigi Buffon’s grandfather.
Buffon has two sons with his wife, Czech model Alena Šeredová. Buffon and Šeredová married in June 2011. He was previously engaged to the sprinter of the Italy national athletics team, Vincenza Calì.