Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28 January 1978 - Congratulations, Mrs. Buffon, He's A Keeper

On 28 January 1978, Italian superstar and 9-time Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year Gianluigi Buffon was born in Carrara, Italy.

Buffon made his professional debut in 1995 for Parma, the club he had joined as a youth player. He was a key member of the club's 1999 treble-winning side, claiming that year's UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia, and Supercoppa Italiana. In January 2001, he transferred to Juventus for the record goalkeeper fee of €51.5 million.

He continued his run of success for Juve, winning the Serie A title in his first two seasons and advancing to the 2003 Champions League Final, only to lose to Serie A rivals AC Milan on penalties, 0-0 (3-2). When Juventus were relegated to Serie B for the 2006-07 season after being found guilty of match-fixing, many rumors suggested that Buffon would join the exodus of players leaving the club, including Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Patrick Vieira. Buffon, however, stayed with the Old Lady and won promotion back to the top flight at the first opportunity.

Buffon debuted for Italy's senior side in 1997 and, to date, has amassed 100 caps. He had great success in the Azzurri's World Cup-winning run in 2006, conceding only one goal--a Cristian Zaccardi own goal--before the Final. Even in the Final, he did not let in any goals during the run of play, surrendering only penalty kicks as Italy defeated France in a shootout, 1-1 (5-3). His performance earned him the Yashin Award as the tournament's top goalkeeper.

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