Gianluigi Buffon, the goalkeeper for Italy who won the World Cup in 2006, made the announcement of his retirement on Wednesday at the age of 45, which prompted plaudits from around the football community.
“And that’s all there is guys! You have provided me with everything. I have provided you with everything. Buffon said in a post on one of his social media accounts, “We did it together.”
Buffon finished his brilliant career in Parma, the place where it all began, despite having won ten Serie A championships with Juventus.
“We would like to thank you once again: It is one of those moments we will remember in the history of football,” Juventus stated in a statement. “It is one of those moments we will remember in the history of football.”
“You not only were the best goalkeeper, but you went above and beyond that and became THE goalkeeper.”
Parma was the club where he won his lone European club prize, which was the UEFA Cup in 1999 (which is now known as the Europa League). However, he will retire without a Champions League winners medal since Juventus was unable to beat them in the final three times.
Parma lavished praise on him, describing him as “a man, a champion, and a captain for the club and the city.”
“Over the course of his illustrious career, Gigi was unrivaled in his abilities, an implacable determination, and an unshakable passion both on the pitch and off it,” said Parma owner Kyle Krause. “Gigi was unrivaled in his abilities, an implacable determination, and an unshakable passion both on the pitch and off it.”
Before returning to Juventus for the last two years of his contract, he won another championship with Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018–19 season, this time in Ligue 1.
His former teammate at PSG, Kylian Mbappe, paid homage to Buffon on social media, calling him “a golden man” and expressing his sadness at Buffon’s passing.
According to what he wrote, “it was an enormous honor for me to have the opportunity to rub shoulders with you and cross paths with you in your legendary career.”
“You are a golden man who gave me priceless advice that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I will always remember what you said to me.”
“May you have safe travels, and most importantly, THANK YOU.”
Buffon is the player with the most total caps in Italy’s history, having earned 176 of them (1997-2018), and he owns the record for most matches played in the Serie A (657).
That spanned five World Cups, during which Italy experienced both the high of winning the tournament in 2006 (after defeating France in a penalty shootout) and the low of being eliminated in the first round in 2010, four years after winning the tournament.