Sports Star Exhibit
Todays Profile: Gianluigi Buffon
By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Name: Gianluigi Buffon Height: 1.90m. Weight: 83.00kg. Nationality: Italy Born: 28/01/1978 Place of Birth: Carrara
Every successful side needs a top goalkeeper and nowhere is that better understood than in Italy. For too long, though, the No1 position had been undervalued - until, that is, the world-record transfer of Gianluigi Buffon from Parma AC to Juventus FC in July 2001.
A member of Italy's UEFA European Under-21 Championship-winning team of 1996, he made his senior debut against Russia in 1997 and was an unused squad member at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After missing out on UEFA EURO 2000™ through injury, he was first choice for the Azzurri's 2002 campaign in Korea/Japan. Buffon played every minute of Italy's eight qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2004™ and only conceded four goals, although Italy did not progress beyond the group stage in Portugal.
As a young boy growing up in Italy, “Gigi” played as a midfielder. However he decided to change his position to goalkeeper after he lost the will to run, this proved to be a great decision as Gigi is now one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world.
He made his Parma debut in 1995 at the age of 17, and went on to make 168 appearances for the club. The 1998/99 season was a memorable one as Parma won the Coppa Italia, Italian Super Cup and the UEFA Cup with a 3-0 final victory against Olympique de Marseille. Then played every game of the 2000/01 season prior to leaving the Stadio Ennio Tardini for Turin.
2001-2003: Juve paid €52.29m for Buffon, who helped the club to yet another title in his first season, being ever-present and conceding 23 goals in 34 league games. They won the Scudetto again in 2003 and reached the UEFA Champions League final, only to lose to AC Milan. The following season was trophyless, however, Juve losing in the final of the Coppa Italia, although Buffon did sign a contract extension until 2009 in July 2004.
2004/05: Buffon missed only one game in Serie A as Juventus won their 28th Scudetto, although their Champions League campaign came to a halt in the last eight against eventual winners Liverpool FC.
2005/06: He missed the start of the season after being ruled out in mid-August for two months with a shoulder injury but has since come back strong and reclaimed his place with both the Azzuri and Juventus.
Did you know?
· Buffon is not punctual. He is always the last one to arrive to the training.
· He also keeps, until today, the red shirt number 12 of his Serie A debut and the gloves that he earned of Taffarel when he was young.
· Buffon says that until he was 17 years old, he was nicknamed "Monster " and he was so ugly, that the girls ran away of him.
· Buffon is engaged to Czech cover girl Alena Seredova.
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