Gianluigi Buffon (born January 28, 1978 in Carrara) is an Italian football player. He is a goalkeeper for Juventus and the Italian national team, and is generally regarded as one of the finest keepers in the world.
Buffon started his career with Parma in 1995. In 2003, he won the Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper awards at the UEFA European Football Awards. Buffon currently has the world record fee paid for a goalkeeper after his July 2001 move from Parma to Juventus for 36 million pounds. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
After backing up Gianluca Pagliuca at the 1998 World Cup and missing Euro 2000 with an injury, Buffon started for Italy at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. He was a member of the Italian Olympic Team at the 1996 Olympic Games.
In 2004/2005 Buffon helped Juventus to their third Serie A title in four seasons. His stunning saves in the crucial match against AC Milan months earlier virtually won the title for the Old Lady.
Buffon was the World's Best Goalkeeper in 2003 & 2004. He was also the Most Valuable Player (UEFA) 2004.
In 2005, after the first game of the Serie A season, Buffon needed surgery after a crash with AC Milan-player Kaka. His operation was successful and at the end of November he will play again.
"Gigi Buffon is in every way an original. His talent very quickly made him the number one of both Parma and Italy, whilst his personality, which is never banal, is characterised by great bravery both in his statements to the press and as he comes out to smother the ball at the feet of onrushing players." - Leo Turrini
Gianluigi Buffon was born in Carrara, Italy on 28/01/78 into a Sporting family: his mother, Maria Stella, was a disks thrower, his father, Adriano was a weight lifter, his two sisters, Veronica and Guendalina, play volleyball and his uncle, Angelo Masocco, played basketball. He is also a nephew of former Milan and Italy goalkeeper Lorenzo Buffon.
As a young boy growing up in Italy, Gigi played as a midfielder. However he decided to change his position to goalkeeper after he lost the will to run, this proved to be a great decision as Gigi is now one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world.
Buffon was soon signed up by Parma, and not long after this he made his debut in Italy’s Serie A at the age of 17 against AC Milan. During his debut Gigi didn't participate in the official match photo, which is the tradition at the beginning of matches. He just left, running for the goal, because he was not accustomed to this.
After his fantastic form for Parma, Gigi was awarded his first Italy cap at the age of 19. He was very nervous in this game because he was called on to replace the injured Pagliuca and had seen him get injured. In this occasion, Gigi also wanted that the game to finish soon because, as the match was in Moscow, he was very cold and he was wearing his customary short-sleeved goalkeeper shirt.
Buffon feared to be considered guilty, if Italy did not qualify for the 1998 WorldCup. Italy did qualify for the competition and Gigi was chosen for the squad, but did not play any games during the tournament.
After helping Italy through a successful Euro 2000 qualifying campaign, Gigi missed out on the finals after breaking his hand in one of Italys final pre-tournament games.
Buffon has now signed for Juventus for a world record goalkeeper fee of £33 million. Buffon admits this is too much money for one player but says he does not feel under pressure because of it. Buffon has now joined a select group of great Italian 'keepers with the Bianconeri after Dino Zoff, Stefano Tacconi and Angelo Peruzzi.
Gigi always says and does what he thinks and he has in his home a notebook where he writes down his defeated and defended penalty kicks. He also keeps, until today, the red shirt number 12 of his Serie A debut and the gloves that he earned of Taffarel when he was young.
Buffon is not punctual. He is always the last one to arrive to the training. He also loses his patience with people who are deceptive of others. Buffon sometimes goes to discos after the games with his friends and teammates. He says that until he was 17 years old, he was a "Monster " and he was so ugly, that the girls ran away of him. Gigi says that he would love to stay together with someone special , but he prefers to live alone. He says that even when he gets married, he will live alone.
Gigi often spends time visiting and helping less fortunate people in Africa, he claims his money and status will never change him from the person he has always been.
Buffons idols are: N'Kono, cameroon goalkeeper and Luca Marchegiani, italian goalkeeper. His hobbies are watching/playing football and solving puzzles. He says his qualities are, that he is sincere and realistic, and he admits and takes responsibilities for his mistakes. He says his defect is that he is very impulsive and talks what he wants.
Buffons ambitions now are: to win every major honour possible with Juventus, to finally play and establish himself at international level in a major tournament and to one day score a goal.
Buffon is blessed with an innate sense of position and feline agility which allows him to cover the goalmouth with ease. He was Parma's first-choice goalkeeper from the age of 18 and made his debut as a 17-year-old, ousting Luca Bucci, who was an Italy international at the time.
He is likely to be Italy's No 1 goalkeeper for years to come, continuing a great legacy which goes back to Dino Zoff. The fans' favourite, he is charming, funny and intelligent off the pitch as well. He already has a friendly rivalry with Fiorentina's goalkeeper Francesco Toldo, Italy's other outstanding custodian.
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