Gianluigi Buffon Set to Play 1,000th Game of Legendary Career as Italy Meet Albania

Jamie Spencer
90Min

​ Gianluigi Buffon will captain Italy in Friday night's World Cup qualifier against Albania. It will be his 168th senior international appearance for the Azzurri, 20 long years after his 1997 debut, and he'll extend his own record as the most capped Italian player of all time.


But more than just that, Buffon will reach a huge career landmark that is a testament to his quality and longevity, for the game against Albania in Palermo will be his 1,000th overall.

It's a remarkable achievement for a player still widely regarded as being among the very best goalkeepers in the world at advanced age of 39. He's been held in such high esteemed since the early 2000s and is one of the most decorated players of his generation.

In a club career that began at Parma with a debut as a 17-year-old in 1995, before later becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in history when he joined Juventus in 2001, Buffon has played a monstrous tally of 832 official games.

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Had back problems not flared up as he turned 30, problems he now appears to be over, that number would be even greater and he would have reached the 1,000 game milestone even sooner.

With 614 of his career appearances in Serie A, Buffon has played more games in Italy's top flight than any other goalkeeper. Paolo Maldini (647) and Javier Zanetti (615) are the only outfielders to have played more often. He'll soon overtake Zanetti and is likely to also catch Maldini as well before his planned retirement at the end next season.

Club icon Alessandro del Piero (705) is the only player to have played more games for Juventus in all competitions than Buffon (612), while his 110 appearances in European competition is already a club record for the Turin giants.

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Buffon has won seven Serie A titles with Juve, as well as the two that were controversially stripped in 2004/05 and 2005/06. He stayed with the club following the 2006 enforced relegation to Serie B, winning the division, and also has two Coppa Italia medals and two Champions League final appearance to his name.

On the international stage, Buffon was part of the Italian squad that won the country's fourth World Cup title in 2006 - he's one of only three players in history to go to five World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) - while he was also a finalist at Euro 2012.

It's 1,000 up for Gianluigi Buffon. With another World Cup to come in 2018, he'll be hoping his last year is his best yet.

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