Serie A: with 648 games, Gianluigi Buffon enters the legend
Gianluigi Buffon played his 648th Serie A match during the Juventus-Torino match on July 4, 2020. Massimo Pinca / Reuters
Text by: Nicolas Bamba Follow
Gianluigi Buffon became the record holder for the number of matches played in the Italian Championship on Saturday July 4, during the derby between Juventus and Torino (4-1). The 42-year-old goalkeeper dethroned Paolo Maldini in a 648th Serie A game.
The "Gigi" Buffon myth is not over. History continues to be written for the Italian goalkeeper, and here it is, fortified by a new important date on this Saturday, July 4. Six and a half months after his last appearance on the pitch in a Serie A match, the goalkeeper played again in Juventus' cage against Torino, on the 30th day of a 2019-2020 season long interrupted by of the coronavirus pandemic. And in addition to the victory (4-1), Gianluigi Buffon was able to celebrate his 648th Serie A match.
At the top in front of Maldini, Totti and Zanetti
Here is the sole record keeper for the number of matches played in the Italian elite. Number 2 of the Old Lady behind Wojciech Szczesny, Gianluigi Buffon replaced the Pole this Saturday and now has one more match on the clock than the previous honorary title holder, AC Milan icon Paolo Maldini, who had finished his career in 2009 with 647 appearances in Serie A.
648 presenze in @SerieA.
Nessuno like him. @GianluigiBuffon, ancora una volta, nella Leggenda ❤️👏 # 648UFFONhttps: //t.co/A6dpiHHhZY pic.twitter.com/KGQ3dZvBJT
Since then, apart from Buffon, only two players had passed the 600-game mark and got closer to Maldini: Francesco Totti, the symbol of AS Rome (619 games between 1993 and 2017), and Javier Zanetti, the illustrious side Argentine Inter Milan (615 matches between 1995 and 2014).
Trained in Parma, Gianluigi Buffon played the first of his 648 games on November 19, 1995. That day, the young 17-year-old goalkeeper, great admirer of Cameroonian Thomas N'Kono, was established against AC Milan by George Weah, Roberto Baggio and Marco Simone. He kept his clean sheet (0-0).
Another year under the colors of Juve
After six seasons in Parma, "Gigi" Buffon entered a new dimension when his club, drained financially, sold it to Juventus in 2001 for 53 million euros (which constituted a record for a goalkeeper until 2018, when Liverpool offered Alisson Becker for 62.5 million euros and when Chelsea paid 80 million euros for Kepa Arrizabalaga).
The 2006 world champion could have broken the record for the number of matches in Serie A earlier if Juve had not been demoted in Serie B during the 2006-2007 season after the scandal of Calciopoli (case of attempted corruption of 'referees). The adventure of Gianluigi Buffon in Italy was also interrupted for a season, in 2018-2019, when the goalkeeper wore the PSG jersey , before returning to Juve.
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6️⃣4️⃣8️⃣ # 648uffon #Record
A publication shared by Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) on Jul 4, 2020 at 10:14 PDT
It remains to be seen how high Buffon will take his record. There are still eight days to go in this very special 2019-2020 season. And on June 29, the Bianconeri announced that their contract was extended for the 2020-2021 season. The legend Buffon still has a few lines to add.
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