Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is set to return to his former club Parma exactly 20 years since he left the club to join Juventus.
Now aged 43, Buffon is one of the most recognisable figures in the sport and made his debut for Parma in November 1995, when he was aged just 17.
He went on to make over 200 first-team appearances for the club and helped them to win three trophies in 1999 – the UEFA Cup, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana.
Buffon has gone on to win a total of 28 trophies across his career, including ten Serie A titles with Juventus and winning the World Cup with the nation in 2006.
A report from Goal outlines how Buffon will put pen to paper on a two-year contract at Parma, who were relegated back down to Serie B for next season.
The veteran shot-stopper is quoted as saying: “I decided to continue playing because I still feel good.”
Parma have endured multiple financial troubles since Buffon’s exit 20 years ago – they were in controlled administration between 2003 and 2007, while they were declared bankrupt in 2015 ensuring they had to restart in Serie D, where they began a run of three successive promotions.
Perhaps surprisingly, the iconic goalkeeper never managed to win the Champions League trophy despite reaching the final with Juve in 2003, 2015 and 2017.
Buffon spent 17 seasons as first choice goalkeeper at the Turin giants – including sticking with the club during their enforced relegation to Serie B in 2006/07 – and clocking up a further 656 first-team appearances.
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He joined Paris Saint-Germain for the 2018-19 campaign where he made 25 appearances but was largely the understudy to Alphonse Areola in the French capital.
The Italian shot-stopper did appear in both of the club’s matches against Manchester United in the Round of 16 in the Champions League, where he kept his 50 th clean sheet in the Champions League during the first leg two-goal victory at Old Trafford.
Buffon did collect a Ligue 1 title medal alongside the Trophée des Champions – an annual match between the champions of Ligue 1 and the winners of the Coupe de France.
He then returned to Juventus in the summer of 2019, where he was offered the number 1 shirt by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and the captaincy by Giorgio Chiellini, but he rejected both offers – instead occupying the 77 shirt for the campaign.
After playing a part in that Serie A title winning squad, he kept a clean sheet in Juve’s 3-0 away win at Barcelona in this season’s group stage Champions League victory – meaning he had kept a clean sheet in the competition in four successive decades.
Having confirmed he would once again be leaving the Old Lady at the end of the campaign, Buffon saved a penalty against Sassuolo when he was aged 43 years, 103 days and later in May, he played in the Coppa Italia final victory over Atalanta.
In total, Buffon has made a remarkable 1,106 senior appearances across club and international level with his new deal set to see him continue playing until he is aged 45.