Legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon retires at the age of 45

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Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has retired from football, the 45-year-old announced on Wednesday, after 28 years in which he reached exceptional milestones for club and country.

The 2006 World Cup winner spent last season at boyhood club Parma, helping them finish fourth in Serie B and reach the last 16 of the Coppa Italia, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Inter Milan.

“That’s all folks! You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together,” Buffon said in a statement.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest keepers of all time, he ended his career where he started, at Parma who are in the Italian second tier, having struggled with injuries in his final season.

The Italian’s career has seen him play a staggering 1,151 pro games at club and international level.

Born in the Tuscany region of Italy, Buffon started out his career with Parma, winning the Uefa Cup and Coppa Italia in 1999.

He spent six years with the outfit before sealing a then world record transfer for a goalkeeper to Juventus.

While with the Old Lady Buffon went on to win ten Serie A titles and five Coppa Italias. His exploits at club level were also present in the national team, with Buffon playing a crucial role as Italy won the 2006 World Cup.

The only big title missing from Buffon’s career was the Champions League, having lost three finals with Juventus – to AC Milan in 2003, to Barcelona in 2015 and to Real Madrid in 2017.

Buffon isn’t expected to put his feet up, either, after Corriere della Sera reported he’s due to take up a role as ‘delegation chief’ of Italy’s national team. That position has been left vacant since it was last held by compatriot Gianluca Vialli, who died in January 2023.

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