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Flashback: Buffon becomes world’s most expensive goalkeeper

On July 3, 2001, Gianluigi Buffon joined Juventus from Parma for a €52 million fee, a world record that still stands as the most expensive transfer for a goalkeeper.

Sixteen years later, Buffon is still going strong – he’s become a Juventus icon, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the sport’s history, having won a number of titles with the bianconeri, and a World Cup with Italy in 2006 in Germany.

How influential has Buffon been for both club and country? This sums it up quite nicely:

You can also read Adam Digby’s in-depth piece on Buffon, who has earned a record 169 caps for Italy, and made over 600 appearances for Juventus (behind only Alessandro Del Piero).

Buffon’s arrival at Juventus came on the heels of the Turin club selling French midfielder Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid for a then-world record transfer fee of €77.5 million. What people tend to forget is that not only did Juventus turn around and spend big on Buffon that summer, but they also bought French defender Lillian Thuram from Parma (for €34 million), and Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved from Lazio (for €41 million).

Anyone remember who Juventus’ starting goalkeeeper was the season before Buffon landed in Turin? That would be Dutch legend Edwin van der Sar, who was quickly sold to Fulham, and who later won four Premier League titles and a Champions League with Manchester United. Fair to say it worked out well in the end for both players.

Even at 39, Buffon remains at the top of his game, and he could potentially play in his sixth World Cup next year in Russia, although he doesn’t take that for granted.