Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper. He captains both Serie A club Juventus and the Italy national team. He is widely regarded by players, pundits and managers to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time,[nb 1] and, by some, to be the greatest ever.[nb 2] Buffon is one of only eighteen players to have made at least 1,000 professional career appearances; with 173 international caps, Buffon is also the most capped player in the history of the Italian national team, the fourth-most capped male international footballer of all time, and the most capped European international player ever. Buffon is known for his "outstanding shot-stopping" and for being "a vocal organizer of the defence and a key dressing room personality". He is currently the most expensive goalkeeper in history, following his €52 million transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001. Buffon holds the record for the most clean sheets in Serie A, and with the Italy national team; he also holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history: over 12 league matches, he went unbeaten for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015–16 season, as well as having achieved the most consecutive clean sheets (10) in Serie A in that same season.
28 January 1978, Carrara, Tuscany, Italy
At club level, Buffon's professional career began with Parma in 1995, where he made his Serie A debut, and was soon promoted to the role of starting goalkeeper, earning a reputation as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Italy; during his time with the club, he won the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana, all in 1999. After joining Juventus in 2001, Buffon immediately won Serie A titles in both of his first two seasons at the club, and established himself as one of the best players in the world in his position. After winning two more consecutive league titles in 2005 and 2006, the club were later stripped of these titles and relegated due to their involvement in the 2006 Italian football scandal. Despite rumours of his departure, Buffon remained with Juventus, contributing to the club's Serie B title and promotion back to Serie A in 2007. Following several trophyless seasons, Buffon later played a key role in Juventus' resurgence, which saw the club win an Italian record of six consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2017; he also inherited the captain's armband following the departure of Alessandro Del Piero in 2012. In total, he has won a record eight Serie A titles, as well as three Coppa Italia titles, and five Supercoppa Italiana titles with Juventus.
With the Italy national team, Buffon has been called up for an international record of five FIFA World Cup tournaments (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) since making his debut in 1997, featuring in four of them as Italy's starting goalkeeper (he was an unused substitute in 1998). He was the starting goalkeeper of the Italian team that won the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which saw him keep a record five clean sheets, and concede only two goals, neither of which were in open play. He has also represented Italy at four European Championships, at the 1996 Olympics, and at two FIFA Confederations Cups, winning a bronze medal in the 2013 edition of the tournament.
Buffon has also won numerous, prestigious individual and team awards. He was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players in 2004. He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eleven times. Buffon was the winner of the 2006 Yashin Award following Italy's World Cup victory, in which he was also elected to be part of the Team of the Tournament; an honour which he also received after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2008 European Championships, and the final of the 2012 European Championships. Buffon is the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award, which he won in 2003 after reaching the Champions League final; he also won the award for best Goalkeeper that year, and was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2016. In 2006, Buffon was runner-up for the Ballon d'Or and was elected to be part of the FIFPro World XI, an honour which he also achieved in 2007. After reaching the 2015 and 2017 Champions League finals, he was named to the Champions League Squad of the Season on both occasions, and also placed fourth, sixth and third respectively in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He has been named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper four times (second only to Iker Casillas, with five awards) and was also named the best goalkeeper of the 21st century, of the past 25 years, and of the decade, by the same organisation. In 2016, he became the first goalkeeper ever to win the Golden Foot Award, which pertains to both personality and playing ability.