We’re going to whisper this considering the man doesn’t seem know when to call it quits, but it looks like Gianluigi Buffon has played his final ever game for Juventus.
To be fair, we’d have said exactly the same thing back in 2018 when he left the Old Lady for Paris Saint-Germain, but at the grand old age of 43, no new deal in the offing and with Wojciech Szczesny expected to start Juve’s final game of the Serie A season against Bologna, this surely has to be it.
Anyway, he’s obviously going to make a mockery of us and don the Juventus goalkeeping shirt again at the age of 59, but for now we’re considering it the end, so what better time to look back on his greatest games for Juventus…
First up is a clash against Milan as Juventus headed to San Siro in March 2014.
Antonio Conte’s side were absolutely running away with the Scudetto, though a trip to Milan represented a potential banaka skin on their route to the title.
I Rossoneri had eight shots on target in the contest yet still couldn’t find their way past Buffon, with the Italian pulling off save after save from all different angles to keep them at bay.
Juventus’ defence at that time was one of the fiercest in Europe, meaning Buffon was rarely called into action, though he proved to be more than up to the task when he was asked to make a save as Juve took all three points with a 2-0 win, though it was their goalkeeper they had to thank for the victory.
The beauty of most of these performances is that Buffon pulled them off at a time in his life when we’ll all most likely be overweight and moaning we’ve done our back in after reaching for the remote.
Buffon headed to Camp Nou in 2020 to face a Barcelona side brimming with talent, with one little magician in particular bound to give him a night to remember – or forget.
Lionel Messi didn’t do anything that Lionel Messi doesn’t normally do to be honest, the only problem was Buffon was in the way of absolutely everything the little magician threw at him.
Messi had 11 shots on goal against Juventus on the night – the most any player since 2003/04 had attempted in the competition without scoring – yet couldn’t find his way past the Italian wall.
Needless to say it was Messi begging for Buffon’s shirt at full-time and not the other way round.
Surely whenever you think of great Buffon performances this is the one that immediately springs to mind.
Obviously it’s absolutely ridiculous that a goalkeeper of his calibre has never won the Champions League – and likely never will by this point – though his performance in the 2003 final deserved a winners’ medal.
The Italian was absolutely superb against fellow Serie A side Milan at Old Trafford, saving all six of Milan efforts on goal with one standout stop from Filippo Inzaghi the highlight of a pretty dull evening.
Inzaghi was afforded a free header from about ten yards out – the sort of chance he’d made a career out of burying – and in truth he did very little wrong as he wrong-footed Buffon and arrowed it towards the bottom corner.
The only issue was the Juve man somehow pulled out the most extraordinary save you’ve ever seen to shift his body weight and somehow divert the ball behind for a corner. Arguably one of the best saves of all time on the grandest stage of them all.
It says a lot about a player when most of their top performances have come on the biggest stage when it really matters (we’ll gloss over the fact he’s never won it for this particular love-in).
Buffon was at his sublime best again in the Champions League back in 2016 as Juventus headed to France to play Lyon.
The shot-stopper had come under criticism in recent weeks after a couple of very uncharacteristic errors, though he bounced back in the best way possible, saving an Alexandre Lacazette penalty and producing one of the saves of the competition to deny Nabil Fekir.
It was a real signal of intent from the ageing shot-stopper, as if to stick two fingers up at his critics after proving he was still one of the best in the world.
When your manager comes out in the post-match interview and describes you as ‘the best ever’ then you’ve probably had a pretty decent game.
Those were the words of Massimiliano Allegri after Juventus sealed a 2-1 win over Manchester City in their Champions League Group D clash back in 2015.
Raheem Sterling was the man who found himself continually being denied by Buffon on the night as he pulled off a string of miraculous stops to keep Juve in the game at 1-0 before they came from behind to notch the win.
City had 13 shots on goal on the night but they couldn’t secure the three points thanks to the sheer brilliance of one man.