Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon Masocco born 28 January 1978 in Carrara, Italy, is an Italian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He has won the FIFA World Cup and is widely considered by fans and experts to be one of most dominant and successful goalkeepers in history. Buffon was declared by Pelé to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world, and has also been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight times.

International career

Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy on 29 October 1997, at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during a qualifier for 1998 FIFA World Cup play-off against Russia. He was called up for the 1998 World Cup finals, but did not play a single game as Pagliuca remained first choice. He was a member of the Italy squad at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. Buffon was also the first choice goalkeeper for Italy at the Euro 2000, but broke his hand in a friendly match against Norway just eight days before the tournament started, and had his starting place taken by Francesco Toldo.

During the 2006 World Cup finals, Buffon was in stunning form, as he conceded just two goals and kept five clean sheets, in addition to a 453-minute scoreless streak. The only goals he conceded were an own goal by teammate Cristian Zaccardo against the United States and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France, which ended 1–1 in extra-time and led to a penalty shootout in which neither Buffon nor Fabien Barthez saved a spot kick. The lone miss was David Trezeguet's effort which clanged off the bottom of the crossbar and failed to cross the line, which enabled Italy's Fabio Grosso to seal the victory for the Azzuri. Buffon received the Yashin Award for his accomplishments throughout the competition.[14] Buffon recorded five clean sheets in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and has a career total of six.

Buffon was named Italy captain 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. Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals nine days later after a 4–2 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon saved one penalty.

On 14 June 2010, Buffon was replaced at half-time in Italy's 1–1 draw in their World Cup Group F opener against Paraguay after he had a problem with his sciatic nerve, and did not play again in the tournament

Personal life

Gianluigi Buffon was born into an athletic family: his mother, Maria Stella, was a discus thrower; his father, Adriano, was a weightlifter; his two sisters Veronica and Guendalina played volleyball and his uncle, Dante Masocco, played basketball. Goalkeeping legend Lorenzo Buffon is a cousin of Gianluigi's grandfather.

Buffon is currently engaged with Czech model Alena Šeredová: they have two sons, Louis Thomas (born December 28, 2007) and David Lee (born October 31, 2009). The first of their children is named after Thomas N'Kono, who used to be the favourite goalkeeper of Buffon during childhood. Buffon and Del Piero are best friends.

Personal information

Full name: Gianluigi Buffon Masocco
Date of birth: 28 January 1978 (1978-01-28)
Place of birth: Carrara, Italy
Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position: Goalkeeper

Club information

Current club: Juventus
Number: 1

Youth career
1991–1995 Parma

Senior career*
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
1995–2001 Parma 168 (0)
2001– Juventus 281 (0)

National team‡
1995–1997 Italy U-21 11 (0)
1997– Italy 103 (0)

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