Connect with us

International Football

Italian keeper Buffon hangs up his gloves after 28 years

Published

on

 Coppa Italia - Final - Atalanta v Juventus - Mapei Stadium - Citta del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia, Italy - May 19, 2021 Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon during the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has retired from football, the 45-year-old announced on Wednesday, after 28 years in which he reached exceptional milestones for club and country.

Buffon, who in 2006 lifted the World Cup, won 10 Serie A titles with Juventus and a Ligue 1 title with Paris St Germain.

“That’s all folks! You gave me everything. I gave you everything. We did it together,” Buffon said in a statement.

Buffon is the most capped goalkeeper in history, having played 176 times for Italy.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest keepers of all time, he ended his career where he started, at Parma who are in the Italian second tier, having struggled with injuries in his final season.

Advertisement

Buffon joined Juve from Parma in 2001 and spent most of his career with the club, except for a season at PSG in 2018-19, before returning to Turin and then to Parma in June 2021.

Kylian Mbappe, who played with Buffon in Paris, paid tribute to the keeper.

“It’s a huge honour for me to have had the chance to rub shoulders with you and cross paths with your legendary career,” Mbappe posted on messaging platform X, previously known as Twitter.

“(You are) a man of gold with invaluable advice that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Buffon began his career in Parma’s youth system in 1991 aged 13, initially playing in midfield before moving to the role of goalkeeper due to his height and physical attributes.

Advertisement

He made his Serie A debut for Parma in a goalless draw against AC Milan in November 1995 at the age of 17.

Buffon, 1.92 metres tall, played a record 657 times in the Italian top flight and was UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in 2003.

He retired from international football in 2018 after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Time has been called on what is simply an exceptional career, an exceptional man and one of the world’s most celebrated players,” Serie A said in a post.

“You’ve been unique. And you always will be. I can’t even find the words to describe what you’ve been, what you taught me, what you gave me. Thanks, my friend,” Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci wrote on Instagram.

Advertisement

-Reuters

 

 

 

 

Advertisement

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

International Football

Two Moroccan football players lost at sea, says club official

Published

on

Abdellatif Akhrif, IRT player reported missing off the coast of M'diq this Saturday, July 6, 2024. © COPYRIGHT: IRT

Two Moroccan players from top-flight soccer side Ittihad Tanger have been missing at sea since Saturday after strong currents drifted their small yacht, a club official said on Sunday.

They were in a group of five players from the club who went cruising off the northern city of Tangier when strong currents and heavy winds drifted their yacht away as they were swimming in deep waters, club deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters.

“Three players have already been rescued on Saturday, while research is still ongoing for the missing Salman Harraq and Abdellatif Akhrif,” he said.

The players did not have buoys on them when they jumped from the small yacht to swim, he said citing recounts by rescued players.

While Akhrif, 24, is already a full member of the squad, Harraq, 18, was about to move up to the senior team this year, Mrabet added.

Advertisement

Ittihad Tanger have been in the Moroccan top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season. However, they have struggled in the lower half of the standings in recent years.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

International Football

FIFA launches ‘Football Manager’ World Cup with $100,000 in prize money

Published

on

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development and former soccer manager Arsene Wenger speaks during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

FIFA will host its first ever FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager this year to crown the best virtual manager on the highly-popular video game, world soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA is partnering with Sports Interactive, the developers of the game that has sold millions of copies and has also been used by several football clubs to scout players and opponents thanks to its extensive database.

Players will compete for $100,000 in prize money in the final event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

“This competition requires participants to demonstrate a profound understanding of football strategy and tactics,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the ambassador for the esports event.

“Success demands not only mastery of game mechanics but also in-depth football knowledge, making this format a fascinating blend.”

Advertisement

FIFA said in the inaugural year of the event, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event.

Member associations from all six confederations are expected to be invited while players can sign up on FIFA’s website.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

International Football

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint

Published

on

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at his home in northern Italy while watching his country’s match against Spain in the Euro 2024 tournament on Thursday, local police said.

Burglars broke into Baggio’s house near Vicenza, hit him on the head with a gun butt and locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash, daily Il Corriere della Sera reported. It said he suffered a deep wound.

“Luckily, the violence I suffered only resulted in a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now it is to overcome the fear,” Baggio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

Baggio, 57, played for clubs including Juventus (JUVE.MI), opens new tab, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He also played 56 times for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and is widely seen as one of his country’s all-time greats.

After the robbery, Baggio, widely known as the “divine ponytail”, was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches for the head wound, Italian media reported.

Advertisement

Italy lost to Spain 1-0 on Thursday and now must avoid defeat by Croatia to guarantee progression in the tournament.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed