Gianluigi Buffon has been around ever since you can remember. He has been in goal for the Old Lady for nearly 2 decades and is a World Cup winner with his native Italy. The goalkeeper who serves as a role model to thousands around the World, Buffon is unfortunate to have never won the Champions League with Juventus, reaching the Finals on 3 occasions. We take a look at the Top 5 Saves Buff-on has made for Juventus and Italy.
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5. Germany vs Italy, 2016 UEFA Euro Championships
Buffon, then 38, pulled off a save for the ages when he denied Amrio Gomez at the end of a wonderfully collected lofted pass and shot on goal from extremely close range. Buffon also went on to save a penalty from Thomas Muller in the shootout after the game ended 1-1. The match was a memorable one for the clash of two European heavyweights and a penalty shootout that seemed to last forever.
4. Italy vs Paraguay, 1998 International Friendly
Buffon was only 20 when he was donning national colors and his actions against Paraguay in a Friendly game against the South Americans was praised widely. In this 1998 Friendly, Buffon was up against Paraguay midfielder Hugo Brizuela who tapped the ball goal wards only for the Italian goalkeeper to pull out an amazing reflex save just in time to deny the striker. The disbelief in Hugo Brizuela’s eyes was proof of the incredible that had just happened.
3. Juventus v AC Milan, 2002-03 UEFA Champions League Final
In an all-Italian Final at Old Trafford in 2003, AC Milan locked horns with arch-rivals Juventus. Buffon stood out that day despite being on the losing side with saves that defied physics. His one save in particular, the one where he denied Rui Costa from taking the lead, stands out as the Italian No.1 made AC Milan realize who’s the boss when it comes to goalkeeping.
2. Juventus v FC Barcelona, 2015-16 UEFA Champions League Final
Although the Old Lady lost 3-1 on a night when Barcelona raced to a treble under Luis Enrique, Gianluigi Buffon was on fire for the club he loves and the club with whom he’s played 3 Champions League Finals – and lost on all 3 occasions. From a reflex save from a Messy follow-through to an acrobatic save from a Neymar curler, Buffon was in the thick of things.
1. Italy v France, 2006 FIFA World Cup Final
The night Buffon became a World Cup winner, he was also the best man on the pitch for Italy as his saves and handling made sure France and Zidane did not go ahead on the night after the scores were tied 1-1 in regulation time. The Italy goalkeeper saved a wonderful header from Zidane, one that was destined for the top corner. To pull off a performance such as this on a night like a World Cup Final means legendary status and Buffon surely has that and more.