|Full Name : Gianluigi Buffon
Date Of Birth: January 28, 1978
Place of Birth: Carrara, Italy
Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Current Club: Juventus
National Debut: 1997
Caps: 113 (0)
Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon, (born January 28, 1978 in Carrara) is an Italian FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper who currently plays for Italian Serie A club Juventus F.C. and the Italian national team.
Early life and family
Gianluigi Buffon was born into a sporting 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 engaged to Czech model Alena Šeredova; Šeredova gave birth to son Louis Thomas on December 28, 2007.
At the age of just 17, Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma A.C. in a 0-0 home draw against A.C. Milan on November 19, 1995. In his fourth season with the club, he won the UEFA Cup. He transferred from Parma to Juventus in 2001, for a world-record goalkeeper's fee of €52 million. Buffon nearly signed with A.S. Roma in 2001 following his departure from Parma, but team president Franco Sensi instead opted for Atalanta B.C. keeper Ivan Pelizzoli, who averaged less than fifteen appearances in five seasons with Roma. Buffon also claimed that he wouldn't have signed with Roma had he left Juventus in 2006. “That was never a possibility really...I don’t think that Roma had the finances to make an investment of such a nature.
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. During the annual Luigi Berlusconi Trophy match against Milan in August 2005, 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. He recovered in time to help lead Juventus to their second consecutive Scudetto and his fourth overall with the club. On May 12, 2006, Buffon, along with former Juventus goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti and 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 May 15. The players were cleared of all charges by the FIGC on June 27, 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." A.C. 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.
Widely regarded as one of the worlds greatest goalkeepers, Buffon has kept clean sheets against many top strikers.
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 awarded his first cap for Italy at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during a 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.
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 make a save. 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 June 13, he saved a penalty from Adrian Mutu in the 81st minute as the match ended 1-1. Italy were eliminated in the quarterfinals nine days later after a 4-2 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon made one save.
Seria A: 2001-02, 2002-03
Coppa Italia : 1999
UEFA Cup: 1999
Suppercoppa Italiana: 1999, 2002, 2003
Serie B: 2007
Italy National Team
FIFA World Cup: 2006
European Under-21 Football Championship: 1994-1996
Bravo Award: 1999
Suppercoppa Italiana: 2001,2007
FIFA 100 (125 greatest living players, as selected by Pelé): 2004
Yashin Award: 2006
European Footballer of the Year - Silver Ball: 2006
UEFA Champions League Most Valuable Player: 2003
UEFA Club Football Awards - Best Goalkeeper: 2003
IFFHS Best Goalkeeper: 2003, 2004, 2006
Oscar del Calcio - Best Goalkeeper: 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Onze d'Or - Best Goalkeeper: 2003, 2006
FIFPro World XI: 2005-2006, 2006-2007
IFFHS Best Goalkeeper: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament