Juventus
    21.05.2018 17:30 - in: The team S

    The story of Gigi’s final season at Juventus

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    An all-time great says goodbye after 17 years of exceptional service. Re-live Gianluigi Buffon’s last months as a Bianconeri player

    There will never be anyone like Gianluigi Buffon. That is the overriding thought of all Bianconeri fans after their Numero Uno called time on an extraordinary career in black and white.

    The notion of what life could be like without Super Gigi between the sticks makes one even more grateful for having had the opportunity to rejoice and also suffer alongside their captain, to admire every single wonder save and remain in awe of his unique personality and the incredible effect he had on everyone around him. 

    So many are the special moments of Buffon’s Bianconeri career that it would take an entire book to be able to document them all, but here you can re-live the final months at the club of an all-time football great.

    19 AUGUST: FIRST PENALTY AWARDED BY VAR ... SAVED!

    It's the 37th minute of Matchday One in the 2017/18 Serie A season. Juventus are hosting Cagliari and Mario Mandzukic has already handed the Bianconeri an early lead. However, the visitors are given the chance to level the scores when Alex Sandro commits a foul in the box and referee Fabio Maresca points to the spot upon consulting VAR for the very first time in the history of Italian football.

    Diego Farias steps up and takes the spot-kick, but, as has so often been the case, Gigi has the final say with his gloves, protecting the Bianconeri goal with zeal en route to a deserved clean sheet and 3-0 opening day victory.

    24 AUGUST: UEFA GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

    Seven goals conceded in 1,080 minutes, including an incredible run of 600 minutes without allowing a single strike – the fifth-best record in Champions League history. These numbers, posted by Super Gigi in 2016/17, saw him claim the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year award on the occasion of the UCL group-stage draw in Monaco.

    23 OCTOBER: THE BEST FIFA GOALKEEPER

    His second international accolade in the space of two months to crown an excellent previous campaign and a career that never ceased to reach new heights. Gigi receives his The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award in London, as well as being included in the FIFPro11: world’s strongest line-up of 2016/17.

    27 NOVEMBER: SERIE A GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

    Just reward for his brilliance between the goalposts during Juve’s season of #LE6END, Gianluigi Buffon lights up the Gran Galà del Calcio awards ceremony in Milan, to be voted the best goalkeeper during the 2016/17 Serie A season.

    1 DECEMBER: SUPER GIGI SAVES THE DAY AT THE SAN PAOLO

    Having shone at a hatful of awards ceremonies, Buffon begins to strut his stuff on the pitch, his natural environment. 1 December sees Juventus travel to Naples for the most important match of the season so far. Napoli sit four points ahead of the champions before kick-off, but thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s predator’s finish and Buffon’s heroics down the other end of the field, the Bianconeri execute the perfect match: solidity, strategy, heart and fight…and a huge three points.

    11 JANUARY: UEFA.COM TEAM OF THE YEAR … GIGI’S THERE!

    It’s a new year, but same old Buffon! Gigi starts 2018 in style by being selected alongside Giorgio Chiellini in the 2017 UEFA.com Team of the Year. The Juventus captain received 333,604 votes (41%) by online users of the website of European football’s governing body.

    The accolade was the latest confirmation of Buffon’s exceptional 2017, during which he surpassed several milestones, including that of being the Juventus player with most minutes on the pitch, the second player for Serie A appearances, as well as having exceeded 1000 career matches and 100 in Europe.

    28 JANUARY: THE BIG 40 FOR BUFFON!

    The day Gigi blew out 40 candles is a day that you’ll have known about! Here’s how we celebrated… 

    30 JANUARY: A LATE BIRTHDAY PRESENT!

    Only two days after turning 40, Gigi showed yet again how age is just a number. Having just returned from injury too, Buffon was the star of the show in the Bianconeri’s TIM Cup semi-final first leg away to Atalanta.

    An early goal by Gonzalo Higuain had made it advantage Juve. Then, in the 26th minute, Alejandro Gomez had the chance to equalize when awarded a penalty. Unfortunately for him, he had Buffon to beat. This was the outcome:

    9 & 13 MAY: TWO GREAT NIGHTS IN ROME

    In the space of just four unforgettable days, the Stadio Olimpico in Rome played host to both of the Bianconeri’s title triumphs. Gigi started between the sticks against Milan as he captained the side to a fourth straight Coppa Italia and fifth of his career.

    Then, on the Sunday of that same week, a 0-0 draw against Roma secured the club’s seventh Scudetto in as many seasons. Wojciech Szczesny played in goal, as Super Gigi celebrated with his beloved team-mates from the final whistle in the capital all the way back to Turin.

    17 MAY: THE ANNOUNCEMENT

    Before a packed Allianz Stadium press conference room, Buffon announced that his extraordinary 17-year association with the club as a player would be coming to an end. The emotional hour-long event concluded with the entire room rising to its feet to applaud an all-time great of the game.

    19 MAY: THE FINAL GOODBYE

    As the clock struck 62 minutes during Juventus’ final match of the season at home to Hellas Verona, the most moving moment of Buffon’s career had arrived, as a truly unique adventure in black and white was ending before the eyes of supporters at Allianz Stadium.

    This was an afternoon mixed with applause for the #MY7H makers and the seven Scudetti in a row, but naturally of course there would be tears shed for the final farewell to a champion.

    As Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, emphasised: Buffon joined the Bianconeri in Paradise in 2001, stuck by the club when it descended into Hell in 2006 and then brought it back to Paradise.

    His on-field achievements, vivacious personality and everlasting loyalty will always make Buffon unique to the Bianconeri, but the game a whole, as the countless compliments on behalf of the world of football testify:

    There will never be anyone like Gianluigi Buffon.

    Forever #UN1CO.

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