Buffon breaks Juventus' Serie A appearance record while equalling Maldini's overall mark

The Old Lady's visit to Genoa will have special significance for their veteran keeper as he surpasses Del Piero's club milestone
The Old Lady's visit to Genoa will have special significance for their veteran keeper as he surpasses Del Piero's club milestone

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon drew level with Paolo Maldini as the Serie A player with most games played in history by starting on Wednesday against Sampdoria. 

Buffon, 41, got the nod in goal due to Wojciech Szczesny's continuing absence through injury. 

It is a landmark game for the veteran, who has now played more Serie A games for Juventus than any other player. 

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Wednesday's clash marked his 479th top-flight game for the Old Lady, a tally that sees him overtake previous record-holder Alessandro Del Piero. 

In total, including his previous spell at Parma, he has lined up between the posts 647 times in Serie A, taking him level with Maldini who reached the same mark during his 24 years as a Milan defender. 

The shot-stopper has kept an impressive 296 clean sheets over the years, conceding just 523 goals as he has led Juventus to nine Scudetti. 

Buffon left Turin at the end of the 2017-18 season to pursue a new challenge with Paris Saint-Germain. 

Despite lifting the Ligue 1 title in his debut season, however, the former Italy international opted to return to his former stamping ground in the summer of 2019. 

Since his comeback, Buffon has largely featured as deputy to Szczesny, making just seven starts to date in all competitions. 

A recent muscular injury suffered by the Poland star, however, has opened the door, with Buffon starting both of Juve's last two games, a 2-0 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen followed by Sunday's 3-1 defeat of Udinese. 

His experience will be more than welcome for the Bianconeri, who find themselves in what promises to be the most competitive Scudetto race for years. 

Juve are currently level with Inter on points at the top of the Serie A table, and can pull ahead at least for 72 hours should they win or draw against Sampdoria. 

Inter will have the chance in turn to make up ground on Saturday when Antonio Conte's men host Genoa.

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