On 19 November 1995, the world first learned the name Gianluigi Buffon. At the Stadio Ennio Tardini as Parma took on AC Milan. That was his first professional appearance, his Serie A debut, and the first game of a future legend of the game, both in Italian and world football. That day, Gianluigi became Gigi, and then he became Superman, but he was, is and always shall remain Buffon.
The Man, the Great, the Captain. This is Gigi Buffon to this Club and this city.
From 19 November 1995 to 30 May 2023, from start to finish, from AC Milan to Cagliari. It’s a 28-year story with interludes at Juventus, PSG and the Italy National team. A story of 23,633 minutes played in a Parma shirt, a love story that will never end. 265 appearances, one UEFA Cup, one Supercoppa, one Coppa Italia, so nearly winning the Scudetto and our Club’s first foray into the Champions League; all of these achievements carry a mark left by Gigi Buffon, a testament to his greatness on the pitch. His greatness off it, naturally, has never been in doubt.
It’s a story that will never end because he has decided to step away from the pitch, to give space for new adventures. From today, he starts a new life, a new story, a new epic, though Gigi will always have Parma in his heart.
And here is how he described his journey: “A 28-year playing career seems incredible, almost unthinkable, especially given my consistency over nearly three decades. I believe this to be the aspect that most defines a career in sports and in this case mine. I’ve shown my passion, my dedication, my enthusiasm and my happiness so that when I look back, I can say that I flew. Yes, in these 28 years – with these dates in mind (19 November 1995 and 30 May 2023, his debut in Serie A and final match in Serie B) – I have told my story in football. But it’s also the story of all those, with their support, tears and love, who have helped me along the way. I also want to thank Parma and all of its people because I’ve always been made to feel at home here, in these last two years as well: President Kyle Krause – one of the best people I have met in the game – and the Club’s management, who had asked me to take up an administrative role within the Group”.
“Today, we honour the retirement of legendary goalkeeper Gigi Buffon,” said Parma Calcio President Kyle Krause. “He has been unrivalled over the course of his illustrious career. Gigi has shown unequalled ability, unstoppable determination and unbelievable passion on and off the pitch. Parma Calcio would like to extend its most heartfelt congratulations to a great player and friend. We will be forever grateful for his vital contribution to the great history of this Club and our community. Parma Calcio will always be his home. Forza Parma”.