After 17 years and over 500 appearances, legendary Italian Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced Thursday morning that he is leaving Juventus. The shot-stopper hasn’t announced his retirement, however, saying he had multiple offers and was going to decide on what was best for him.
Gianluigi Buffon Leaving Juventus
Buffon finishes his 17-year run as Juve’sall-timee leader in appearances by a goalkeeper. He won the most titles by any player in Serie A history (nine) and has four Coppa Italia’s. He leaves Serie A with the most Goalkeeper of the Year awards ever (12) and, still, with the largest transfer for a goalkeeper in history (€50 Million in 2001).
Whenever a legend of the calibre of Buffon leaves a club like Juventus there is plenty of speculation to follow. He has already been linked with moves to PSG by French news outlet Canal+ and to Liverpool by the English press. Then there are the links to China & MLS that almost every European great deals with at the end.
If Buffon chooses to stay in Europe, the offer from PSG might be the most interesting. Throughout this era at PSG, it has felt like they lacked an edge or a toughness at the back when it really mattered. A personality like Buffon would bring a big change in that. He may not be the player he once was, but he still the leader he’s always been.
His Next Move
If he decides to stay in Europe, PSG are his best fit. PSG would not need much from Buffon in order to win the French league and compete for a domestic treble. Where his experience & leadership would be most useful is the UEFA Champions League, something both he and PSG have failed to win.
If he decides not to go to PSG and goes somewhere like Liverpool, the move would be a mistake. The Premier League has not been known for treating aging players well, especially goalkeepers. The high rates of shots, counter attacks, and defensive mistakes could mean Buffon’s worse season as a professional, something he surely wouldn’t want to do.
And as this will likely be the final chapter of his professional career let’s hope he makes the right choice for us all. Buffon is a legend, one of the all-time greats; someone who deserves the type of send off that Andres Iniesta has received over the last few weeks. He will get one on Saturday when Juve host Hellas Verona; Buffon’s final game for the Bianconeri.
But hopefully, Buffon won’t be saying goodbye to all of football on Saturday. Football is better because of Gianluigi Buffon and he would be sorely missed. Even if we have to watch him in a PSG jersey, no matter how strange it will look, it’s worth it. The greats never stop being great, there will always be flashes. And he deserves the right to decide when and where it comes to an end.