Monday July 3 2017
On This Day: Juventus sign Buffon

On this day in 2001, Juventus officially completed the signing of Parma goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The 23-year-old arrived for a world record fee for a goalkeeper, 100 billion lire or €52m.

He made his debut for the club against Venezia in the opening match of the Serie A season, and kept clean sheets in each of his first three matches.

Despite some early criticism for uncharacteristic mistakes, Buffon helped the Old Lady to a first Scudetto since 1998 on a dramatic last day which saw Inter lose at Lazio and send the title to Turin.

The 2002-03 season once again brought the Scudetto, but Juve lost in the Champions League final to Milan, Andriy Shevchenko scoring the winning penalty past Buffon in the shootout.

The goalkeeper would win another two Scudetti under Fabio Capello, but both titles were revoked in the Calciopoli scandal.

Despite having just won the World Cup, however, Buffon opted to stay with Juventus after their demotion to Serie B, instantly securing his legendary status for the black-and-white half of Turin.

Both Buffon and his club struggled upon their return to Serie A, with the goalkeeper dealing with a series of back issues.

However, in 2012 the Bianconeri finally returned to the Serie A summit, winning the League unbeaten under Antonio Conte.

Alessandro Del Piero’s departure that summer handed the captain’s armband to Buffon, and Juve have won Serie A for every year since.

Today, 16 years after he signed, Buffon remains the Juventus goalkeeper, having played over 600 games for the club.

He holds the record for most minutes played - though Del Piero beats him on appearances - and barring injury or loss of form he’ll head to the 2018 World Cup with Italy.

Buffon plans to retire at the end of the coming season, but if he does hang up his gloves the Bianconeri can probably consider 17 years as a decent return on investment.