Football Goalkeeping Legend Gianluigi Buffon RETIRES From The Game At Age 45.

Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has retired from football at the age of 45.

The former Italy's and 2006 World Cup winning shot-stopper Buffon enjoyed a stellar playing career spanning 28 years in what has been a truly iconic career for him.

He spent last season at boyhood club Parma since joining for a second time in 2021, with the club having just been relegated from the Italian top-flight.

He helped 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.

Though, he has been unable to guide Parma back to Serie A, cutting an emotional figure as his side lost in the Serie B play-offs.

Buffon had a deal with Parma until 2024, but has decided to call it quits ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, having made 19 appearances last season as he struggled with injuries.

He began his career at Parma's academy and made his Serie A debut for the club in November 1995, and was part of the squad that won the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup double in the 1998/99 season.

His brilliance for Parma earned him a move to Juventus in July 2001 in a £32.6m deal, a world record for a goalkeeper at the time.

Buffon spent most of his career in Turin (17 years), despite a stint at PSG in 2018-19. In total he made a record 657 appearances in the Italian top flight and is the most-capped goalkeeper of all time with 176 appearances for Italy.

He now brings an end to a 28-year career after enjoying a huge success with the Bianconeri, that saw him win 10 Serie A titles, five Coppa Italias, and six Suppercoppa Italian titles with Juventus across two stints with the Turin-based outfit.

The Old Lady wrote on their official website: "Today is a day for everyone to think back to your gravity-defying saves, the way you transcended history, bidding phenomenal players farewell and seeing the emergence of their heirs, while you remained in place.

You showcased the consistency and reliability of a champion whose smile could wipe away any fear and fill the supporters and your team-mates with the feeling that you were truly unbreakable. 

"You gave us reason to dream and made those dreams come true. Today marks the end of an era and we are deeply honoured to have lived through it. We are part of your story and you are part of ours. 

"Thank you, Gigi! Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavours."

He also won the Ligue 1 trophy with Paris Saint-Germain where he spent the 2018-19 campaign with the French giants. However, the Champions League is an honour that’s always evaded him.

Buffon also scooped a plethora of individual awards during his illustrious career, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) Goalkeeper of the Decade award, 13 Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year accolades and a spot in Juventus’ Greatest Team of All Time.

Buffon wrote on social media: "That's all folks. You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together."

Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, Buffon had earlier retired from international football in 2018 after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup that year.

His career highlight was winning the World Cup as Italy beat France 5-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in Berlin, Germany. He was Italy keeper when they finished as runners-up at Euro 2012.

The Italian icon sits ninth on the list of male players with the most international caps after amassing 176 during a 23-year career with the Azzurri.

It’s understood Buffon will then assume the role as Head of Delegation with the Italian national team, which was previously held by Gianluca Vialli, who died in January.

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