Italy has given the world a few of the best football players in history. Gianluigi Buffon is such a name in the game. This professional goalkeeper is also the current captain of Parma Calcio, and is widely regarded as one of the best goalies of all time, having made over 1000 professional appearances.
Many of you might recall him because of the scandals surrounding him, but how many of you know the person behind the surface?
A Setback in Buffon’s career
Buffon’s career suffered a serious setback in 2006. The ‘Calciopoli Scandal,’ the name in which it was infamously known, almost put a halt to his growing career. As the man suffered, so did his performance. And all this happened for Buffon’s love of gambling!
Athletes getting involved in the gambling scenario is no new news, especially when gambling has moved online, the number has only increased. Many websites, such as Cherryred top online casinos, educate and guide visitors to the best online betting games available. Buffon himself has been the brand ambassador for a famous poker site online for years!
But that’s not what got him into trouble.
Thirteen years back, Buffon and his club were accused of a match-fixing scandal that tainted some big names, including Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Reggina, alongside the club Juventus. The scandal became possible when a few phone call transcriptions between the managers and the match officials were leaked dramatically. But, later, Buffon was cleared of the acquisitions and ended up leading his country to the FIFA World Cup victory that same year.
Buffon’s Early Life
On January 28, 1978, this celebrated footballer was born in Carrara, Italy. His birth into a family of national-level sportsmen gave him a huge incentive for the future. With his father being a weightlifter and his mother being a discus thrower, it’s no surprise that he inherited the athlete gene.
Buffon also grew up with two sisters, both of whom had an interest in athletics since they were little. As his parents played a great role in motivating and inspiring him when he was a kid, Buffon started playing football at the tender age of 5.
Initially, Buffon hesitated to choose which sport he’d focus on. But, seeing the player he is now, we can undoubtedly tell he has made the right move. The major break he got was when he joined Parma Calcio in 1992 through their youth pipeline. In the next few years, everyone was mesmerized by his eccentric performance and sportsmanship as a goalkeeper.
His professional career began in 1995 when he made his debut in Serie A. He helped Parma win the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and UEFA Cup in successive years, earning him the status of Italy’s most promising young goalkeeper.
Golden Years as Juventus’ Golie
He joined Juventus in 2001 with a world-record fee for a keeper of 52 million euros in his time. The money was well worth the effort, as he won Series A championships for both of his first two seasons with the club. With a record 9 Series A, 5 Supercoppa Italiana, and 4 Coppa Italia titles, undoubtedly, he established himself worthy of the elite gang.
He was the first keeper to be voted Series A Footballer of the Year, and he was named the goalkeeper of the year a record twelve times. Also, in 2015 and 2017, after he reached the UEFA Champions League finals, he was part of the Champions League Squad of the Season on both occasions. He also earned the Best FIFA Goalkeeper award in 2017.
Buffon made his way to the hall of fame with 176 international cups. He is Italy’s national team’s most capped footballer and the 7th most capped football player of all time. After his international football debut in 1997, he took part in 5 FIFA World Cups and inherited the captain’s armband in 2010.
Undoubtedly, his sportsmanship won Italy the dramatic penalty shootouts in the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. He was also awarded the Golden Globe for being the best keeper of the tournament. Furthermore, Pelé included Buffon in the FIFA 100 ranking of the world’s finest living football players.
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