With Euro 2012 rapidly approaching, we here at JuventiKnows are profiling the different Juventus players participating in the summer tournament. This year, seven of our Scudetto winners are going to Poland and Ukraine as part of Cesare Prandelli’s Italian national side as the coach – himself a former midfielder for the Bianconeri – called up – Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Emanuele Giaccherini and today’s featured star, Italy and Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon.
Birthplace and Birthday:
January 28th, 1978 in Carrara, Italy.
San Gigi and Superman.
Estimated Market Value:
Title, Year, (Club) U-21 European Championship, 1996 (Italy U-21) UEFA Cup, 1998-1999 (Parma) Coppa Italia, 1998-1999 (Parma) Supercoppa Italia, 1999 (Parma) Serie A, 2001-2002 (Juventus) Serie A, 2002-2003 (Juventus) Serie A, 2004-2005 (Juventus) Serie A, 2005-2006 (Juventus) World Cup, 2006 (Italy) Serie B, 2006-2007 (Juventus) Serie A, 2011-2012 (Juventus)
U-21 European Championship, 1996 (Italy U-21)
UEFA Cup, 1998-1999 (Parma)
Coppa Italia, 1998-1999 (Parma)
Supercoppa Italia, 1999 (Parma)
Serie A, 2001-2002 (Juventus)
Serie A, 2002-2003 (Juventus)
Serie A, 2004-2005 (Juventus)
Serie A, 2005-2006 (Juventus)
World Cup, 2006 (Italy)
Serie B, 2006-2007 (Juventus)
Serie A, 2011-2012 (Juventus)
Team Supported Growing Up:
Genoa and local club Carrarese, of which he is now a part-owner
Level of Fame:
World famous. Gianluigi Buffon is probably the most famous player both at Juventus and the Italian national side for playing at the highest levels for 15+ years. He will surely go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Gianluigi Buffon is a curious individual in the world of football. Well known for his dignified, statesman-like role like Alessandro Del Piero, Gigi doesn’t hold back when he needs to criticize. He can be one of the most honest and frank players- never banal. When asked about the calcioscommesse scandal going on, Buffon attacked the Italian journalists for leaking information before even the players were notified.
Buffon has it all: height, intelligence, and reactions that defy gravity and logic. Legendary Italian commentator Fabio Caressa once said, “Buffon is a man who singlehandedly wins his team 15 points per season.” He is rarely if ever caught out of position, and very very rarely commits errors. He is a phenomenal leader, both on the pitch organizing his defense, but also within the team environment. Simply one of the best, his reaction saves are some of the most stunning on the planet.
Gianluigi has very few weaknesses, but he’s not the best at saving penalties. That said, he has done so in several crucial games- against Romania in Euro 2008, Spain in Euro 2008, and in the Champion’s League final at Old Trafford back in 2003.
Status on Club Team:
Legend. Buffon has been at Juventus for over a decade now, whether when conquering Serie A with Lippi, winning the World Cup, or traveling through the provinces in Serie B. Despite the relegation and the years of mediocrity that followed, Buffon stayed loyal to the Old Lady. With Alessandro Del Piero leaving the club this summer, Buffon is the heir apparent to the captain’s armband and will surely receive it, having served as vice-Captain since Pavel Nedved’s retirement.
2011-2012 Club Season:
Gianluigi Buffon had come under some criticism in last summer, following another failed season for Juventus and another injury-prone season for the Carrese keeper. Club legend Alessio Tacchinardi stated that Buffon had lost the will to win, and Buffon certainly had a point to prove this year. Job well done. Buffon started out the fall a bit shakily, it didn’t appear his confidence was 100%, but grew in the coming months, making a string of brilliant saves to keep Juventus in the game. In the spring, Juventus faced Inter at home- in the first half, the Bianconeri looked overrun by the Nerazzurri, and Buffon made 3 world class saves. In the second half, normal service resumed, and Juventus triumphed 2-0 thanks to Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero. Without a doubt, Buffon made his mark on this season’s league title. The only blemish was a terrible gaffe against Lecce that allowed them to equalize. Indeed, Buffon stated “Without that error, this would have been my best year.” One notable difference in this past season was that Italy’s #1 was able to keep healthy all year- under Delneri, Ferrara, and even Ranieri, Buffon missed several months each season due to injuries.
Status in National Team:
Iconic. Italy has been blessed with some truly great goalkeepers, and Gianluigi Buffon ranks among the best of them along with fellow ItalJuve legend Dino Zoff. He has been absolutely crucial to Italy’s success as a team- he is decisive in every tournament he plays. With the retirement of Italy’s great captain Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon is now the captain of the Italian national team and deservedly so for many years to come.
Expected Performance for National Team:
Some Juventus players have struggled to truly show their great club form at the international level, like Mauro Camoranesi and Del Piero in recent years. San Gigi has never had that criticism, he is always superb when wearing the Nazionale jersey. Assuming his recent shoulder injury is truly minor, there is no reason to expect anything other than a great tournament from San Gigi. Euro 2008 gave us tremendous saves against Benzema and Adrian Mutu, both which single handedly changed Italy’s fate. In the 2010 World Cup, he was unfortunately pulled early on due to an injury and missed the whole tournament. Buffon will be ready for the Euros.
Buffon named his first son Thomas, after one of Africa’s greatest keepers, Thomas Nkono of Cameroon.
In one word: