Over the decades, we have seen many goalkeepers who have earned the legendary status by proving themselves on the pitch. The goalkeeper is the most crucial player of the team, without such incredible saves, matches cannot be won. Your team could be winning 2-0 and in no time two on targets shots can turn around the whole game. This is where the goalkeeper comes into the picture. Goals give you a lead, however cleansheet wins you games. So who is the best goalkeeper in the world?
When we talk about the very best goalkeeper in the world, it is really hard to name one. We have come across the likes of Lev Yashin, Iker Casillas, Peter Schmeichel, Gordon Banks etc over the years. Talking about ability Yashin would make the cut but he lacks titles. Talking about titles, Saint Iker would be the one to name with 24 titles. The Real Madrid captain is one of the greatest of all time. But when you talk about qualities of leadership, skill and success all in one Gianluigi Buffon is the man. With 29 titles to his name, over 1100+ appearances and his untouched legacy, it is safe to name him as the best goalkeeper in the world. Let us know a bit about the Italian number 1.
Gianluigi Buffon – The best goalkeeper in the world:
|Date of Birth||28 January 1978 (age 44)|
|Height||6 feet 4 inch|
|Save percentage||0.768 %|
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The making of Buffon – Early years
Gianluigi Buffon was born in Carrara, Tuscany in a family of athletes. His mother Maria Stella is three times Italian champion in shot put and discus throw. His father, Adriano, was a weightlifter, while both his sisters are volleyball players. Buffon took up football at the age of 13 in Parma youth academy. He initially played as a midfielder before finally switching to goalkeeping. Eventually, Gianluigi impressed the Parma youth coach in no time and was called up for the first team. This is where he started gaining recognition and attention in Italy. He spent 5 successful years at the club as their starting goalkeeper. Buffon acquired the nickname “Superman” when he denied Ballon d’Or holder Ronaldo Nazario’s penalty. Gianluigi won 3 titles at Parma including Copa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup. He was voted Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in his career.
The prime in his career – Juventus Saga
In 2001, the Italian legend was sold to Juventus for a world-record goalkeeper’s transfer fee of €51.956 million and the rest is history. The Juventus number 1 played for the club for 18 long years defending the old lady like a rock. He won 23 titles with the club including 11x league titles, 6x Supercoppa Italiana and 5x Coppa Italia. He had an amazing start at the club winning two consecutive league titles. However, in 2005, Juventus were caught in the Calciopoli scandal which led them to getting relegated to Serie B for season 2006-07. They were stripped of two league titles for the current and present season. A lot of players left the club when it got relegated but Buffon was one among the few who stayed and fought back the club to promotion in 2007-08.
The new decade beginning from season 2010-11 marked the new era of Juventus. The old lady completely established itself as the dominant force in Italy winning 9 consecutive Scudettos with Buffon in goal. Buffon played a major role In the team as he kept denying world class players and kept cleansheets. Moreover, he took up responsibilities of captaining the team after Alessandro Del Piero departed from the club in 2012. One of his greatest records is not allowing a goal in Serie A for 974 consecutive minutes in 2015–16. He has over 700+ appearances for the club and over 250+ cleansheets. Buffon has been described as an agile, strong, and commanding shot-stopper. His quick reflexes, athletic physique and decision making are his greatest assets. No doubt many rate him as the best goalkeeper in the world.
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The next chapter
Gianluigi conquered all of Italy but sadly he was not able to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League. He has played the final thrice but his dreams of clinching the trophy still remains unfinished. At the end of season 2018, Buffon bid his farewell to the old Lady as his contract came to an end.
“Seventeen years in black and white end today. Seventeen years of friends, team-mates, tears, victories, defeats, trophies, words, anger, disappointments, happiness and many, many emotions. I will never forget anything. I will always carry everything with me.”— Buffon on his last official day of his spell as a Juventus player in 2018
He signed a one-year contract with the French club Paris Saint-Germain where he won the Ligue and French super cup. After a season at PSG, Buffon made a return to his old club winning the Scudetto with them again. He played for two seasons in a rotational role with Wojciech Szczęsny and turned down the number 1 shirt and the captain armband. He played wearing the number 77 and broke Paolo Maldini’s record of 647 appearances in Serie A. Buffon then bid his final goodbye to the club as he made an iconic return to his first club Parma. The 44 year old still continues playing strong and ice-cold.
Buffon is the most capped (176) player in the history of the Italian national team and seventh-most capped footballer of all time. He won the world cup with Italy in 2006. Buffon was one of the key players in Italy’s road to victory. Gianluigi kept 6 cleansheets throughout the tournament and conceded only twice. the italian number 1 was given the Yashin award in for his excellent performance. He captained the Italian team post 2012 and guided them in confederation cup. The Italian finally announced his retirement from national team in 2017.
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Apart from 29 titles in his career, Buffon has won many individual awards. He won the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award four times, Series A Goalkeeper Of The Year award nine times, European Goalkeeper Of The Year honour three times. Besides, he recieved the Yashin award in 2006 for his performance in the 2006 world cup. He also featured 2nd position in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team published by France football in 2020. Gianluigi Buffon is truly the best goalkeeper in the world.
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