Buffon completes sensational return to Parma 20 years after leaving

Martin Macdonald
Buffon confirms Juventus departure for the end of the season

Buffon confirms Juventus departure for the end of the season

Gianluigi Buffon has completed a sensational return to former club Parma, rejoining the club he left 20 years ago in a record deal for Juventus.

In 2001, the Italian became the most expensive goalkeeper in history at the time and Juventus' record signing when the Bianconeri secured his services from Parma for €52 million.

He would go on to enjoy huge success in Turin over the next two decades, winning Serie A on 10 occasions as well as five Italian Cups.

Though Champions League glory has evaded Buffon, he is still recognised as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, particularly after his starring role for Italy at the 2006 World Cup.

Apart from one season-long spell at Paris Saint-Germain, Buffon has been with Juventus for 20 years, most of the time as their number one goalkeeper, with Wojciech Szczesny earning that status in more recent years.

When Buffon announced he would be leaving Juventus this summer after two decades, he told beIN Sports.

“My future is clear and defined. This beautiful and very long experience with Juve will come to a definitive end this year.

“Either I stop playing, or if I find a situation that motivates me to play or have a different life experience, I will take it into consideration.

“I feel I gave everything for Juve. I have received everything and more and this cannot be done.

“We have reached the end of a cycle and it’s right for one to remove the disturbance.”

Return to Parma

Now, as confirmed on Thursday, he has rejoined Parma 20 years after leaving on a two-year deal.

This beautiful and very long experience with Juve will come to a definitive end this year
- Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon is currently 43-years-old which means he will still be playing at the age of 45.

Parma were relegated last season after winning just three games in 2020/21 so Buffon will initially play in Serie B in the hopes of again plying his trade in the top flight in one final season in his mid-forties.

The Italian reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona in order to return to Parma, as he eventually made the decision to remain in his home country due to family reasons.

Besiktas have also attempted to recruit the World Cup winner, but it is Parma who have won the race for his signature.

He will see a familiar face at the club, too, as former team-mate Enzo Maresca is currently head coach of Parma.