Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon (born 28 January 1978) is an Italian professional goalkeeper who plays for and captains both Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. Buffon is the most capped player in the history of the Italian national team with 161 caps.
After the Euro qualification, Buffon stated that Euro 2016 would be the final European Championship of his career, but expressed his intentions to retire only after the 2018 World Cup, which would see him play up to the age of 40.
He is widely considered by players, pundits and managers to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and, by some, to be the greatest ever. Buffon is known for his “outstanding shot-stopping” and for being “a vocal organizer of the defence and a key dressing room personality.”
Buffon is currently the most expensive goalkeeper in history, following his €53 million transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001. Buffon holds the record for the most clean sheets in Serie A, and with the Italian national team; he also holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history: over twelve league matches, he went unbeaten for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015–16 season, as well as having achieved the most consecutive clean sheets (ten) in Serie A in that same season. Buffon has won numerous, prestigious individual and team awards.
He was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players in 2004. He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record ten times. Buffon was the winner of the 2006 Yashin Award following Italy’s World Cup victory, in which he was also elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament; an honour which he also received after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2008 European Championships, and 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 after reaching the Champions League final; 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 was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or and was elected to be part of the FIFPro World XI, an honour which he also achieved in 2007.
After reaching the 2015 Champions League final, he was named to the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season, and placed fourth in the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He has been named the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper four times (second only to Iker Casillas, with five awards) and was also named the best goalkeeper of the 21st century, of the past 25 years, and of the decade, by the same organisation. With the Italian national side, Buffon has been called up for an international record of five World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), featuring in four of them as Italy’s starting goalkeeper (he was an unused substitute in 1998).
He has also represented Italy at three European Championships, at the 1996 Olympics, and at two FIFA Confederations Cups, winning a bronze medal in the 2013 edition of the tournament. At club level, Buffon’s professional career began with Parma in 1995, where he was soon promoted to the role of starting goalkeeper; during his time with the club, he won the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana. Since joining Juventus, Buffon has won seven Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia, and five Supercoppa Italiana titles with the club.