The myth Buffon retires at 45 | Sports

All the figures are excessive when reviewing the sporting career of Gianluigi Buffon, from whom various Italian media announce his imminent retirement when he is on his way to turning 46. Beyond the numbers, of the ten Leagues won with Juventus, the five World Cups played, the victory in Germany in 2006 or the three Champions League finals in which he could not raise his orejona, the person remains, the one who at the end of last season cried on the Ennio Tardini pitch, frustrated because Parma, the club where he had started his professional career, had been eliminated by Cagliari in the playoff for promotion to the Serie A. At the break of the first leg, Parma led by two goals. It was then that Buffon had to request the change due to a muscle injury. Cagliari scored three goals to come back and in the second leg made them count.

Superman’s last dream had not come true. They called him that because he showed a superhero shirt after finishing a game in which he saved Ronaldo’s penalty at the Ennio Tardini. Then the Brazilian striker was the Ballon d’Or and Buffon a meritorious 20-year-old who left Parma in 2001 after Juventus paid the highest fee to date for a goalkeeper: just over 50 million euros to minimize an offer from Barcelona. He got cheap Lady, amortized the goal for twenty years in which he barely put the wedge of the interruption of a campaign in which Buffon left for Paris Saint-Germain. He went there to look for the Champions that he was missing and that did not arrive at his meeting. Manchester United eliminated the Parisians after an unlikely comeback at the Parc des Princes. “We thought it was going to be a formality and we let ourselves go. The atmosphere that Juve had was missing, the desire to fight that Chiellini had, for example, ”he explained later. It still hurts. Shortly after they told him that the next Champions League was going to be played by Areola as a starter and he decided to leave. “It was the biggest mistake of my life. They told me that and I didn’t accept it. Then Areola was injured and they signed Keylor Navas”.

“I am competitive. I don’t want to be considered a substitute,” Buffon explained until the end. Before looking like this he hangs up the gloves. He wore them fascinated, when he was just a child and watched the 1990 World Cup on television, by Tommy N’Kono’s class, his first idol, so much so that he called his eldest son Louis Thomas. “Thanks to him I became a goalkeeper”, he outlined in an endearing visit that the former Cameroonian goalkeeper from Espanyol made a couple of years ago to the sports city of Parma. Buffon had fulfilled the dream of meeting him in 1999, when N’Kono, aware of his affection, invited him to his retirement game in Yaoundé. Now comes yours. At the age of 45, he started at Parma to fight to return to the top flight. He had one year left on his contract, but he has an offer from the Italian federation on the table to become the successor in the selection of the late Gianluca Vialli who served in the team led by Roberto Mancini as head of delegation, a kind of spiritual head of the group. No one has defended that shield as many times as he: 176 internationals, forty more than Cannavaro, fifty more than Maldini. Perhaps that is the comparison that best describes a greatness chiseled in 28 years of professional career.

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