Gianluigi Buffon life and biography

Gianluigi Buffon picture, image, poster

Gianluigi Buffon biography

Date of birth : 1978-01-28
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Carrara, Italy
Nationality : Italian
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-05-06
Credited as : Goalkeeper Juventus, Italian national team, Alena Šeredová

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Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon (born 28 January 1978 in Carrara), is an Italian FIFA World Cup, UEFA Cup, and Serie A winning goalkeeper who plays for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He is considered by many fans and experts to be one of most dominant and successful goalkeepers in recent 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 nine times.

Club career
Parma FC

Buffon began his career with the youth system of Serie A club, Parma FC in 1991 at the age of 13. He graduated from the youth squad in 1995 and at the young age of just 17, Gigi made his Serie A debut for Parma F.C. in a 0–0 home draw against A.C. Milan on 19 November 1995. He went on to make 8 more first team appearances that season. In 1996, his second full season with the club, Buffon was named as the starting goalkeeper and would go on to make well over 200 appearances for his club in all competitions. In his fourth season with the club, he won the UEFA Cup. He was by this time, already considered a major prospect and in the summer of 2001, he was snatched up by Italian giants Juventus for a for a world-record goalkeeper's transfer fee of reported £23 million, with part of the transfer fees paid via the transfer of Jonathan Bachini to Parma. That season Juve also signed Lilian Thuram.

Transfer to Juventus

Buffon transferred from Parma to Juventus F.C. in the summer of 2001, and has never looked back. It was rumoured that Buffon nearly signed with A.S. Roma in 2001 following his departure from Parma but then club president Franco Sensi instead opted for Atalanta B.C. keeper Ivan Pelizzoli, who averaged less than 15 appearances in five seasons with A.S. Roma.

In his first season with Juventus, Buffon was immediately inserted into the starting eleven and appeared in 45 official matches, helping his team to the Serie A title. He totaled 47 appearances the following season, also helping Juventus to the UEFA Champions League Final, only for his team to lose in a penalty shoot-out to AC Milan, although they did celebrate the Scudetto that season yet again. In 2003, he received the UEFA Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper awards, and was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. In his third season with the club, Buffon again was the undesputed starter making 38 appearances, and in his fourth season at Juve, he amounted for 48 more appearances as well as his third Scudetto in four years with the Turin giants. In August 2005, during the annual Luigi Berlusconi Trophy match against AC Milan, Buffon collided with Milan midfielder Kaká while chasing a loose ball, and suffered a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. His operation was successful and he returned to the pitch in November, but played only once as another injury returned him to the sidelines until January. Christian Abbiati was transferred to the club, to fill in for the injury strucken Buffon, however he did recover in time to help lead Juventus to their second consecutive Scudetto and his fourth overall with the club. On 12 May 2006, Buffon, along with Juventus teammate and fellow goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti along with many other players, were implicated as participants in illegal betting on Serie A matches while with Parma. The following day, he voluntarily allowed himself to be questioned by Turin magistrates in an attempt to clear his name. While admitting that he did bet on sports (until regulations went into effect in late 2005, banning players from doing so), he vehemently denied placing wagers on Italian football matches. Fears arose that he had jeopardized his chance of playing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but he was officially named Italy's starting goalkeeper on 15 May. The players were cleared of all charges by the FIGC on 27 June 2007. Following Juventus' punishment in the Calciopoli scandal, rumors spread that Juventus were shopping Buffon on the transfer market as a cost-cutting measure, and many teams became interested in his services. However, no deals ever materialized as Buffon elected to remain with Juventus; his agent said, "Serie B is a division he has never won and he wants to try to do this." AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani stated in April 2007 that Buffon's decision to stay proved a catalyst in re-signing incumbent Dida, though Buffon later denied having ever been contacted by Milan. After Juventus won the Cadetti and were promoted back into the top flight, Buffon signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2012. Buffon was still in his best form for the 2007–2008 Serie A season, as he helped Juventus to a third place finish as well as UEFA Champions League qualification in their first season back. In 2008–2009, Buffon was again sidelined by several injuries, having problems with his back but principally a bad groin strain and a pulled muscle. From September through January, new Juventus reserve keeper, Alexander Manninger, held his position between the sticks, and gained a lot of praise for his deputizing. Because of this and Juve's poor form towards the end of the season, as Buffon was seen despondent as the team drew Lecce and Atalanta, there were further rumors that Buffon was upset and wanted to leave. He admitted he was upset but had no intentions to leave. After a discussion with management, he said he was reassured about the future of Juventus and signed a year extension to 2013. Buffon started the 2009–2010 season strongly, receiving praise for performances against sides such as A.S. Roma, S.S. Lazio, A.S. Livorno Calcio, Bulgaria, Georgia, amongst others. In the view of several commentators, his performances have cemented his reputation as one of the world's best players. Buffon has made well over 300 appearances for The Old Lady, during his 10 year spell with the club, winning 4 Scudetti, along the way.

International career

Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during a qualifer 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. He 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.

Buffon was in stunning form as he kept five clean sheets in addition to a 453-minute scoreless streak during the 2006 World Cup finals; the only goals conceded were an own goal from 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 could save a penalty. The lone miss was David Trezeguet's effort that 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 Italians. Buffon received the Yashin Award for his accomplishments throughout the competition.

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 a penalty from Adrian Mutu in the 81st minute 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 was eliminated in the quarterfinals nine days later after a 0–0 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon saved 1 penalty.

Personal life

Gianluigi Buffon was born into an athletic family: his mother, Maria Stella, was a discus thrower, his father, Adriano, a weightlifter, his two sisters Veronica and Guendalina played volleyball and his uncle, Angelo Masocco, played basketball. He is also a nephew of goalkeeping legend Lorenzo Buffon (a cousin of Gianluigi's grandfather).

Buffon is currently engaged with Czech model Alena Šeredová, they have two sons, Louis Thomas (born 28 December 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.

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