There are a few undisputed icons in football history, and Gianluigi Buffon finds himself towards the very top of that list.
Super Gigi broke on to the scene in 1995 and has enjoyed one of the most ridiculous careers we have ever seen, breaking record after record after record with terrifying ease.
Let’s take a look at which records he has sent tumbling.
Buffon recorded an unrivalled 21 clean sheets in the 2011/12 Serie A season, conceding just 16 goals in just 35 appearances. Four years later, he almost did exactly the same.
He tied his record for 21 clean sheets in the season, but conceded 17 goals this time around. A shocking effort, really. Not good enough.
On October 11 2013, Buffon lined up for his 137th match for Italy, moving ahead of previous record holder Fabio Cannavaro.
He made it all the way up to 175 before announcing his international retirement after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, only to come back and take his tally up to 176 with one last cap in March 2018.
When Buffon kept a clean sheet against Udinese on January 17 2016, nobody expected him to keep that run going for as long as he did.
In total, ten teams in a row tried and failed to beat Buffon, who kept out title rivals like Napoli and Inter across that run.
Unsurprisingly, that run also earned him…
After moving past Juventus legend Dino Zoff’s return of 903 minutes without conceding a Serie A goal, Buffon knew he needed just 181 more seconds against Torino on March 20 2016, to break Sebastiano Rossi’s record of 929 minutes.
He got more than that, although his unbeatable streak did come to an end in that match when Andrea Belotti fired home, ending Buffon’s run at 974 minutes.
Zoff’s tally of 276 Serie A clean sheets was well ahead of the rest. Behind him was Enrico Albertosi’s 237, which tells you just how hard it would be to break that record.
On 22 January 2017, Buffon kept his 277th Serie A clean sheet when he shut out Lazio, and his tally now sits at a whopping 299.
It was hard to imagine somebody breaking Paolo Maldini’s record for most appearances in Serie A, particularly when his greatest challenger left Juventus for PSG in 2018, but Buffon came back to Italy one year later with a mission.
On July 4 2020, Buffon lined up for his 648th league game in the Italian top flight, moving him past the 647 played by Maldini and into yet another spot in football folklore.
Winning one Serie A title is impressive enough, but nine? Nine is out of this world.
After lifting the trophy for the first time in 2002, Buffon became the first player to put nine in his cabinet when his Juventus side were crowned champions of the 2019/20 season on July 26 2020.
By starting a 3-0 win over Crotone on February 22 2021, Buffon picked up his 654th appearances in a major European league, something nobody has ever managed before.
He broke the record set by Premier League legend Gareth Barry, whose 653 appearances looked impossible to topple.
Buffon still has to hold on a little longer if he wants to become the oldest player in Serie A history – a record set by Marco Ballotta at the age of 44 years and 38 days.
Buffon will have to make it to March 2022 if he wants this one.
It’s Ballotta who holds this record as well, turning out for Lazio in 2017 at the ripe old age of 43 years and 252 days.
Assuming the 2020/21 season sticks to a schedule, Buffon won’t be able to break that record this year. Will he get one more?
Buffon’s return of 52 clean sheets in his Champions League career is only good enough for second on the all-time rankings.
It’s Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas who sits atop the standings, and while his 59 clean sheets doesn’t seem too far away, Buffon might just run out of games.
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