Gianluigi Buffon retires, fails to help Italy qualify for World Cup
Retiring on a high-note is a dream of every employee and sportsmen are no exception. However, Italian football legend Gianluigi Buffon ended his 20-year-old career in a match where Italy drew with Sweden, therefore, failing to qualify for the World Cup, first time in 60 years. The 39-year-old had been a first choice keeper for 175 games for Italy and remains a legend for his club Juventus.
A teary Buffon said, “It's a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup. Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can't be scapegoats."
Buffon, dearly known as Gigi amongst fans and fellow athletes, was one of the most expensive goalkeepers in history. He was born on January 28, 1978, in Carrara, Italy. His father was a weightlifter and his mother was a discus thrower. As a child, he showed prowess in football, playing midfielder initially until he became a goalkeeper at the age of 11.
Gigi joined the Parma youth system at the age of 13. He was promoted to the senior squad at the age of 17 and made his Serie A debut for Parma in 1995. In 1997, he became the club's regular starter in 1997, helped Parma to claim the UEFA Cup, Italian Cup and Italian Supercup in 1999.
The star goalkeeper was transferred to Juventus F.C, where he would remain for the rest of his career in 2001 for approximately $45 million, a record fee for a goalkeeper. He helped the Italian club to win 8 league titles and two Italian Supercups. He won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year honors in 2003. Buffon led his country to the 2006 World Cup victory.
A goliath, a wall, Buffon will be remembered by fans and colleagues alike.