Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon
Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Buffon hails Ronaldo, Zlatan, himself after nine-save show

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Gianluigi Buffon is not taking for granted his final days as a player.

The iconic 42-year-old goalkeeper had an exceptional day between the sticks for Juventus in a 1-1 draw with 10-man AC Milan.

Buffon made nine saves against an ascendant and lively Milan, keeping the Old Lady in the Coppa Italia semifinal tie despite conceding a less-than-ideal goal to Ante Rebic.

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The keeper struck a defiant tone in relishing a starring role, and used the opportunity of his turning back to the clock to shower praise on Juve teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

From Football-Italia:

“I have to admit, I smile at this, because so many turned their noses up when Ibrahimovic was coming to Milan, but at the age of 38, he is making the difference. When it comes to players, you have to analyze them individually and not just as a birthdate. I am very happy for him, he is an extraordinary champion.”

On Ronaldo, Buffon said, “One of the reasons I returned to Juventus was the opportunity to play and train with Cristiano Ronaldo and every day is a revelation.”

Milan’s Daniel Maldini was an unused sub on the day, but the 18-year-old featured in Buffon’s plans.

Buffon traded jerseys with the teenager, just as he did with his father Paolo Maldini. He noted that he’s also traded jerseys with George and Timothy Weah, Lilian and Marcus Thuram,and Enrico and Federico Chiesa.

When he finally does retire, he may leave with the title of the most Interesting Footballer in the World.

Buffon chasing Juve finale “in less important role”

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Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon thought his chance for a fairytale ending disappeared, but may still claim the last jewel for his crown.

Buffon’s Champions League campaigns have ended at the hands of Real Madrid and Manchester United the past two seasons, the latter at PSG, but the legendary keeper still has something left in the tank after returning to Juventus this season.

[ MORE: Neymar injured again ]

“I felt the need to have that experience in Paris, to go outside my comfort zone,” Buffon told Football-Italia. “There was no guarantee that would go well, but the fact that it did made me a more complete person.

“However, at a certain point, I felt the call of home and family. Being back two weekends per month wasn’t enough for me. I decided to return to Turin, but that wasn’t the only reason. It was like closing a perfect circle with the teammates of a lifetime, albeit in a less important role than the one I had before.”

Buffon won Ligue 1 with PSG last season, his first outside Juve since arriving from Parma in 2001.

Buffon says “it’s a source of pride” that Juve gave him another chance at age 41, where he’s spelling Wojciech Szczesny

“I don’t feel that I’ve given all I can, not the full 100 per cent. Maybe I am missing that 15 per cent I need for the grand finale of this career.”

Ramos equals Casillas’ Spain appearances, closes in on men’s world record

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If it wasn’t clear already: Sergio Ramos will go down in history.

On Sunday, with a start against the Faroe Islands in Spain’s EURO 2020 qualifying match, the defender equalled Iker Casillas’ record of 167 international caps for La Roja. 

The 33-year-old defender is nine appearances short of tying Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s European record of 176 and 18 out of breaking the men’s world record of 184 set by Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan.

The Real Madrid captain began his international career in 2005 in a friendly against China, and can become Spain’s most-capped player if he plays against either Sweden or Norway next month.

Throughout his 14-year spell with the national, Spain’s captain has won the 2010 World Cup, EURO 2008 and EURO 2012.

Buffon back at Juventus after one season at PSG

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Gianluigi Buffon is back at Juventus.

The longtime Bianconeri goalkeeper was undergoing medical tests with Juventus on Thursday, after which he was expected to sign a one-year contract with the club for 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million).

It’s a return for the 41-year-old Buffon after one season away at Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus posted pictures and videos of Buffon signing autographs for fans outside the club’s training facility before he went inside for the tests.

Buffon is expected to serve as the reserve goalkeeper behind starter Wojciech Szczesny. He needs eight appearances to overtake former AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini as the most capped player in Serie A history. Buffon has 640 appearances in the Italian league; Maldini has 647.

After this season, Buffon is expected to become a member of Juventus’ management.

A year ago, Buffon joined PSG from Juventus on a one-season deal with an option for a second year. It was announced a month ago that PSG and Buffon had decided not to take up the option.

Buffon played 25 times for PSG, sharing duties with Alphonse Areola, and won the French league to add to his multiple titles.

Buffon spent 17 years at Juventus after joining from Parma in 2001 and established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

He won nine Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, including four successive league and cup doubles.

Buffon also made a record 176 international appearances for Italy, helping the Azzurri win the 2006 World Cup.

One of the few trophies missing from Buffon’s glittering collection is the Champions League. He lost three finals in that competition with Juventus.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Rodriguez, Buffon leave Bayern Munich, PSG, respectively

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Two stars of past World Cup are looking for a new club to play for this summer.

Bayern Munich made it official on Wednesday, announcing that midfielder James Rodriguez would be leaving the club following a two-year loan deal and be, on paper, heading back to Real Madrid. Also on Wednesday, PSG announced that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would be leaving the club after just one season.

[READ: Previewing the USWNT’s World Cup group stage opponents]

In his two years in Germany, Rodriguez leaves with four trophies, 67 appearances and 15 goals and 20 assists. While that constitutes some success, for sure, Rodriguez never became as big of a star as the likes of Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller. Rodriguez also battled with multiple injuries, including an injury that ended his league season late in April.

Buffon meanwhile split the season with France National Team goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and at age 41, is now looking for another new destination as he could potentially prolong his career.

So, what’s next for the pair? The latest reports have seen Rodriguez linked with a move to Juventus or Napoli, though the Colombian denied those claims to the Colombian media after a friendly match with Panama ahead of the Copa America, stating he’d rather be in Medellin, his hometown in Colombia. For Buffon, meanwhile, it’s another year where he has to decide if he wants to continue playing or retire.

Both players would be interesting pickups for the Premier League, should any teams be willing to take a flyer on them. Would Manchester United bring James in to play behind Marcus Rashford up top, or if Mesut Ozil does leave Arsenal, could James replace him? Buffon could likely be an upgrade, even at his age, for most Premier League defenses, and perhaps he could have a season like Esteban Cambiasso did at Leicester City before retiring.