Legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has decided to end his illustrious playing career, retiring at the age of 45.
The Italian star enjoyed a successful 28-year career which was littered with trophies and titles, in both Italy and France.
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The man from Tuscany began his professional career with Parma back in 1995, making nine appearances in the 1995-96 campaign.
It took just one season before Buffon established himself as Parma’s first-choice shot-stopper and soon began to win trophies both domestically and in Europe.
The ‘Yellow and Blues’ lifted both the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup in the 1998/99 season, before also winning the Supercoppa Italiana in 1999.
Buffon spent six years with Parma (21/5 to win Serie B in 2023/24) and during that time made his full international debut for Italy – against Russia in 1997.
Juventus then paid €52million to sign the keeper in July 2001, as replacement for Edwin van der Sar, and Buffon enjoyed huge success in Turin.
Buffon spent 17 years with Juventus, even sticking with the Turin giants when they were relegated to Serie B for off-field matters.
The shot-stopper won no fewer than nine Serie A titles during his first spell with the Bianconeri – 10/3 to win the title this season - as well as the Serie B crown in 2006/07.
Between 2011/12 and 2017/18, Juve won a record seven consecutive Scudetto, whilst also winning four Coppa Italia trophies.
Buffon and Juventus’ only frustration was not being able to lift the Champions League trophy, finishing runners up on three occasions - 2002/03, 2014/15 and 2016/17.
The unthinkable happened then in the summer of 2018, when Buffon not only left Juventus but also moved on from Serie A.
Paris-Saint Germain persuaded the 6-foot 4-inch goalkeeper to join them on a one-year contract, with the option to stay for a second year.
Although PSG won the Ligue 1 title in 2018/19, Buffon made just 25 appearances across all competitions.
The Italian international decided one year in France was enough and then returned to Juventus in 2019, where he spent another two seasons.
He won another three trophies during his second spell in Turin – the Serie A title in 2019/20, Coppa Italia in 2020/21 and another Supercoppa Italiana in 2020.
Another return was in the offing in 2021, when he re-joined his first club, Parma, for two seasons in Serie B.
Buffon’s greatest achievement on the international stage came in 2006, when he won the World Cup with Italy.
The keeper played a key role in helping his country reach the showpiece in Germany, before featuring in the final success over France.
That World Cup final was one of 176 appearances he made for the Azzurri – 12/1 to win Euro 2024 - with whom he finished runner-up with at Euro 2012.
You won’t find many people arguing that Gianluigi Buffon shouldn’t be in the top-10 goalkeepers in world football history.
When you consider the period of time he played at the top level and the number of titles he has won, you could certainly argue that the Italian should be rated amongst the best of all-time.
As well as being his country’s leading appearance maker, Buffon also holds the record for the most appearances in Serie A (657) and the most Serie A appearances (489) for Juventus.
At club level, the veteran has 27 winners medals to his name and holds the record for the number of clean sheets in a Serie A season – 21 in both 2011/12 and 2015/16.