You never forget some things, this day was no different. His home debut was Parma against AC Milan. I was sat in a cold kitchen, eating pasta in the oven that my father had made, my mum suffering from a cold from hell. I remember the match, the Milan team, I remember a 17-year-old on the pitch looking more of a fresh-faced veteran than I have ever seen before. The world had been introduced to Gigi Buffon.
After making his debut in 1998 as a 20-year-old against Slovakia for the Italy national team, he’s went on to appear 123 times virtually dominating the gloves and helping his country to a World Cup win in 2006 as well as a 2012 runners-up place at Euro 2012.
He is the most expensive goalkeeper on earth after his reported £30million move from Parma to Juventus in 2001 and led Juventus to Serie A titles in 2002 and 2003. Surprisingly, he stayed with the Old Lady when they were demoted to Serie B as punishment for their part in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal of 2007 helping them return immediately to Calcio’s top division.
His longevity is unquestionable. Ever since his penalty save against AC Milan on his Parma debut he’s kicked, caught and dived his way in to being not only the most reliable pair of hands at Juventus, more than the most talented in Italy, but the most consistent and inspirational goalkeeper in the game.
The fans have voted and the decision was close, Manuel Neuer pushed him tight, but Juventus and Italy stalwart Gianluigi Buffon is our #TalkingXI number one.
Here’s some of the experts and voters telling us why:
“The greatest goalkeeper ever. Stronger, fitter and more agile than any before him. More consistent and tougher than his peers.” – Adam Digby, JuventiKnows.com
“His presence, positioning and reactions have made him the benchmark of great goalkeeping for what seems like a lifetime.” – Giancarlo Rinaldi, giancarlorinaldi.tumblr.com
The debate is now underway for the #TalkingXI right-back. Who gets your vote? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.