Italy great Buffon retires from football aged 45

Juventus and Italy great Gianluigi Buffon has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 45.

The World Cup winner enjoyed a successful 28-year career and played his last two seasons at boyhood club Parma in Serie B.

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Buffon terminated his contract with Parma, which was set to run until June 2024, before confirming his retirement.

The Italian player posted a video on Wednesday that read: “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 spent two decades at Juventus, either side of a 12-month spell at Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19.

He made his professional debut for Parma aged 17 in 1995 and four years later won the Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup and Italian Supercoppa at the club. He moved to Juventus in 2001 in a €52 million ($57m) transfer, a then-world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

At Juve, he won 10 Serie A titles in 19 seasons, as well as the Serie B championship in 2006-07 when the club played in the second tier after they were relegated as a result of the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

He also won the Coppa Italia five times and the Italian Supercoppa on six occasions. Buffon reached three Champions League finals with Juve but failed to win the famous trophy.

In 2018, he moved to PSG as a free agent and won the Ligue 1 title and Trophée des Champions before returning to Juve the next season.

Buffon is the most capped player for Italy, with 176 international appearances.

He made his Azzurri debut in 1997 and was selected for nine major tournaments from 1998 to 2016 and was an unused sub at the 1998 World Cup.

He kept five clean sheets in seven games to help Italy lift the 2006 World Cup.

Buffon was named Ballon d’Or runner-up that year, beaten only by Azzurri teammate Fabio Cannavaro. Buffon was also captain of the Italy side that lost the Euro 2012 final to Spain.

He retired from international duty in 2017 after 20 years of service.

Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci was among those to praise Buffon’s legacy.

The former Italy defender wrote: “You’ve been un1que. And you always will be. I can’t even find the words to describe what you’ve been, what you taught me, what you gave me. Thanks, my friend.”

Kylian Mbappé, who played with Buffon in Paris, also paid tribute to the keeper.

“It’s a huge honour for me to have had the chance to rub shoulders with you and cross paths with your legendary career,” Mbappe posted on messaging platform X, previously known as Twitter.

“(You are) a man of gold with invaluable advice that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

After retiring, Buffon is in line to take on a role as Italy’s national team delegation chief.

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