Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon (born 28 January 1978) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Serie A club Juventus.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and by some as the greatest ever. He is one of the few recorded players to have made over 1,000 professional career appearances.
Buffon holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history, achieved over twelve league matches; he kept the opposition out for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015–16 season, achieving the most consecutive clean sheets (10) during that run. Buffon also holds the record for most clean sheets and most appearances in both Serie A and with the Italian national team.
At club level, Buffon’s professional career began with Parma in 1995, where he made his Serie A debut. He soon broke into the starting line-up and earned a reputation as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Italy, helping Parma to win the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1999. After joining Juventus in 2001, for the world record fee for a goalkeeper of €52 million at the time, Buffon won Serie A titles in both of his first two seasons at the club, and established himself as one of the best players in the world in his position. In his first spell at Juventus, he won a record nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias, and five Supercoppa Italianas. He was the first goalkeeper to win the Serie A Footballer of the Year award, and was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record twelve times. After reaching the 2015 and 2017 UEFA Champions League finals, he was named to the Champions League Squad of the Season on both occasions, and won the inaugural The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award in the latter year.
After seventeen years with Juventus, Buffon signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 40 in 2018, where he was used in a rotational role with Alphonse Areola; he won the Trophée des Champions and the Ligue 1 title in his only season with the team, before returning to Juventus the following year. During the 2019–20 season, Buffon served primarily as a back-up to Wojciech Szczęsny, but still managed to break Paolo Maldini’s record of 647 appearances in Serie A, as he won a record tenth Serie A title with the club.
With 176 international caps, Buffon is the most capped player in the history of the Italy national team, the seventh-most capped footballer of all time (joint with Hossam Hassan), and the second-most capped European international player ever; Buffon also holds the record for most appearances for Italy as captain after he inherited the armband in 2010. Buffon was called up for a record of five FIFA World Cup tournaments (in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014) after making his debut in 1997; he was an unused substitute in the 1998 edition. He was the starting goalkeeper of the squad that won the 2006 tournament, being awarded the Golden Glove as the competition’s best goalkeeper. He also represented Italy at four European Championships, at the 1996 Olympics, and at two FIFA Confederations Cups, winning a bronze medal in the 2013 edition of the tournament. Following his performances during the 2006 World Cup, where he kept a record five clean sheets, Buffon won the Yashin Award and was elected to the Team of the Tournament, an honour he also received from UEFA after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2008 and the final of the 2012 European Championship. Buffon retired from international football in 2017, after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup; although he reversed this decision to play in the team’s friendlies the following year, he officially confirmed his international retirement in May 2018.
Buffon was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players in 2004. He is the only goalkeeper to win the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, which he achieved after reaching the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final; he also won UEFA’s award for best goalkeeper that year, and was additionally voted into the UEFA Team of the Year on five separate occasions. Buffon was the runner-up for the Ballon d’Or in 2006, and was elected part of the FIFPro World11 three times. He was the first ever goalkeeper to win the Golden Foot Award, and was also named the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper a record five times (alongside Iker Casillas and Manuel Neuer); he would go on to be named the best goalkeeper of the 21st century, of the past 25 years and of the decade by the same organisation.