Gianluigi Buffon
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Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon (born 28 January 1978 in Carrara, Italy), is an Italian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. He has won the FIFA World Cup and is widely considered by fans and experts to be one of most dominant and successful goalkeepers in history. Buffon was declared by Pelé to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world. He has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight times and he has also been named the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) goalkeeper of the decade. Buffon is well known as one of the world's best goalkeepers.

Buffon was awarded his first cap for Italy on 29 October 1997, at the age of nineteen, as an injury replacement for Gianluca Pagliuca during the first leg of the '98 World Cup qualification play-off against Russia played in Moscow. Then he was called up for the 1998 World Cup finals, but did not play a single game as Pagliuca remained first choice. Buffon became the first choice goalkeeper of the Italian national team soon afterwars the World Cup. Consequently he was the first choice goalkeeper at the Euro 2000, but he broke his hand in a friendly match against Norway just few days before the tournament started and he had his starting place taken by the backup goalkeeper Francesco Toldo.

Buffon took part with the Italy squad at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.

During the 2006 World Cup finals, Buffon was in stunning form, as he conceded just two goals and kept five clean sheets, in addition to a 453-minute scoreless streak. The only goals he conceded were an own goal by teammate Cristian Zaccardo against the United States and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France. Buffon recorded five clean sheets in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and has a career total of six.

Buffon was named Italy captain for Euro 2008 after incumbent Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. In the second game of the group stage against Romania on 13 June, he saved an 81st minute penalty from Adrian Mutu as the match ended 1–1 to keep Italy's hopes alive. Buffon kept a clean sheet against France in the final group game. Italy were eliminated in the quarter-finals nine days later after a 4–2 penalty shootout loss to Spain in which Buffon saved one penalty.

In the 2010 World Cup, Buffon was replaced at half-time in Italy's 1–1 draw in their opening group stage match against Paraguay after he had a problem with his sciatic nerve, and did not play again in the tournament.

After the international retirement of Cannavaro, Buffon became the new captain of the national team. On 9 February 2011, once he recover from his back injury, Buffon plays for the first time as the official captain in the friendly match against Germany played in Dortmund.

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