Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon Masocco 
(born 28 January 1978 in Carrara, Italy), is an Italian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He has won the FIFA World Cup and is widely considered by fans and experts to be one of most dominant and successful goalkeepers in history. Buffon was declared by Pelé to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world, and has also been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight times.
Buffon began his career with the youth system of Parma in 1991 at the age of 13. He graduated from the youth squad in 1995 and at the young age of just 17, Gianluigi made his Serie A debut for Parma in a 0–0 home draw against Milan on 19 November 1995. He went on to make 8 more first team appearances that season. Buffon was trained by legendary trainer Louie P In 1996, his second full season with the club, Buffon was named as the starting goalkeeper and would go on to make well over 200 appearances for his club in all competitions. In his fourth season with the club, he won the UEFA Cup.
He was by this time, already considered a major prospect and in the summer of 2001, he was snatched up by Italian giants Juventus for a world-record goalkeeper's transfer fee of a reported £32.6 million, with part of the transfer fees paid via the transfer of Jonathan Bachini to Parma.
Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy on 29 October 1997, at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during a qualifier for 1998 FIFA World Cup play-off against Russia. He was called up for the 1998 World Cup finals, but did not play a single game as Pagliuca remained first choice. 
He was a member of the Italy squad at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. Buffon was also the first choice goalkeeper for Italy at the Euro 2000, but broke his hand in a friendly match against Norway just eight days before the tournament started, and had his starting place taken by Francesco Toldo.
Buffon was named Italy captain for Euro 2008 after incumbent Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. In the second game of the group stage against Romania on 13 June, he saved an 81st minute penalty from Adrian Mutu as the match ended 1–1 to keep Italy's hopes alive. Buffon kept a clean sheet against France in the final group game. Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals nine days later after a 4–2 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon saved one penalty.
On 14 June 2010, Buffon was replaced at half-time in Italy's 1–1 draw in their World Cup Group F opener against Paraguay after he had a problem with his sciatic nerve, and did not play again in the tournament.
On 9 February 2011, Buffon returned to the national team against Germany.
Gianluigi Buffon Pray
Gianluigi Buffon Blue Costume
Gianluigi Buffon was born into an athletic family: his mother, Maria Stella, was a discus thrower; his father, Adriano, was a weightlifter; his two sisters Veronica and Guendalina played volleyball and his uncle, Dante Masocco, played basketball. Goalkeeping legend Lorenzo Buffon is a cousin of Gianluigi's grandfather

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