This Thursday, Juventus’ keeper, Gianluigi Buffon, celebrated his 20th anniversary on the field. It is speculated Buffon could soon put an end to his long and fruitful career as a professional football player. After 20 years, Buffon can easily be tagged, as one of the most distinguished goalkeepers in football.
The 37-year old Italian started his professional career in the distant 1995, when he joined the Serie A club Parma. On November 19 of the same year, he contributed to the club’s scoreless draw against rivals AC Milan. The goalkeeper holds a number of records. At the moment, Buffon is said to be the most expensive goalkeeper in history. Then again, he also holds the record for the most clean sheets in the history of Italian football. Additionally, the Italian was the only keeper to receive the UEFA award for Footballer of the Year in 2003. Only he and two other players have participated in five World Cups.
20 years later, Buffon is still on the field. Tomorrow, he is to join his team mates as Juventus, the club he has spent nearly 15 years at, will host an important match against Serie A rivals AC Milan. The game is of crucial importance for both Italian teams.
Buffon is to shake hands with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Milan’s 16-year old keeper. Speculations have emerged, the youngster will possibly be Buffon’s successor, once the older footballer decides to step down. Donnarumma’s made his début with the Rossoneri at the end of October, 2015, in a 2 to 1 game against Sassuolo. What is more, the 16-year old replaced Milan’s starting-line keeper, Diego Lopez. Lopez has remained on the bench ever since.
The outcome is of extreme importance for both teams, as they’re in a fierce competition for the Scudetto title. The Rossoneri collected a total of ten points in the last four games. Currently, the team is only seven points behind Fiorentina. Many attribute a large portion of this success to young Donnarumma.
Milan’s coach, Mihajlovic, attempts to compensate for the team’s missing striker, Mario Balotelli, who underwent a groin operation this Wednesday. Suspended midfielder, Giacomo Bonaventura, is expected to join the Rossoneri back on the field. Striker Bacca and midfielder Niang will also assist Milan in the game against Juventus.
In comparison, Juve are not doing so great this season. After the Old Lady’s game against Russia, striker Mario Mandzukic, left the field with an ankle injury. Juve’s other striker, Dybala, is expected to return after his short spell at Argentina’s national team. However, there are speculations Juve have stepped up their game and are slowly recovering from their recent slump. At the moment, Juve are nine points behind current leaders Fiorentina.
The winner of the important match is to be seen tomorrow. Still, all eyes will most likely be on the two goalkeepers, who have come to represent the past, the present and the future of Italian football. It is not quite clear yet, when Buffon is expected to retire. As the Italian himself revealed recently, “Destiny made me become a goalkeeper.” He might not be ready to quit yet.