Italy and Juve legend Buffon hangs up his gloves at 45

Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon has retired from football at the age of 45.

The 2006 World Cup winner spent last season at boyhood club Parma, helping them finish fourth in Serie B and reach the last 16 of the Coppa Italia, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Inter Milan.

Buffon signed a contract extension with I Crociati until 2024 in February but has decided to call it quits ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Italian stopper won the UEFA Cup in 1998-99 during his first stint with Parma before making the move to Juventus in July 2001 for a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper of £32million.

He enjoyed huge success with the Bianconeri, securing the Serie A trophy on 10 occasions across two stints with the Turin-based outfit and making 685 appearances in total.

The Old Lady wrote on their official website: “Today is a day for everyone to think back to your gravity-defying saves, the way you transcended history, bidding phenomenal players farewell and seeing the emergence of their heirs, while you remained in place.

“You showcased the consistency and reliability of a champion whose smile could wipe away any fear and fill the supporters and your team-mates with the feeling that you were truly unbreakable.

“You gave us reason to dream and made those dreams come true. Today marks the end of an era and we are deeply honoured to have lived through it. We are part of your story and you are part of ours.

“Thank you, Gigi! Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavours.”

Buffon spent the 2018-19 campaign at Paris Saint-Germain, adding another league title to his collection.

He also won a plethora of individual awards during his illustrious career, including 13 Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year accolades.

The Italian icon sits ninth on the list of male players with the most international caps after amassing 176 during a 23-year career with the Azzurri.

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