June 17, (THEWILL)- Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, who left former Italian champions Juventus at the end of the just concluded season after lifting the Coppa Italia once again, has now rejoined second-division outfit Parma.
This was revealed on Thursday when the former veteran Italian national keeper returned to the club more than a quarter century after beginning his legendary career in the Parma stadium.
The second division side celebrated his return by posting a playful video on social media that showed a silhouetted figure make his way into the Parma grounds and dig up a box from the goal post area. Inside the box were happy pictures of Buffon, a superman outfit and Buffon’s old Parma shirt.
The figure, who later reveals himself to be Buffon then makes a phone call to confirm his interest to whoever was on the other side before turning to the camera, taking of the hood of his top which covered his face before saying to the camera: “I’m back.”
At 43-year-old, Buffon returns to the side he left in 2001 to Juventus. He comes after a season where he featured as a Wojciech Szczsny backup and has picked up a two-year contract making an active playing time until he is 45 years old possible for the still sporty Italian.
Javier Ribalta, the Sport Director at Parma, was pleased to have Buffon back in be fold. He said about the thinking that led to it: “From the first moment I shared the idea of a return to Parma with Gigi, I understood from looking him in the eyes that it was an emotional one for him.
“He is committed, he wants to work, he knows this place. Parma is his home. We are proud that we can count on him. Seeing him come back to the club where his incredible career began will be a beautiful thing, and we know there are more pages still to write in his story.”
It was in a Parma shirt that Buffon first tasted international glory. He was between the sticks in the UEFA Cup of 1999, when Parma won the competition and starred as a key player in the national team in Italy’s run to the 2006 World Cup title. He would then go on to win numerous titles with the Old Lady in Serie A.
Unfortunately, with his signing for Parma he dropped into relegation after the club finished last in Serie A in its first season under new American ownership. But, Kyle Krause, Parma club president, is sure of better times with Buffon back with them.
An excited Krause said: “We are thrilled to welcome Gigi Buffon home. We are going to bring this legendary club back to its rightful place. Buffon’s return is another validation of that ambition. It’s a really special moment for all of us.”
It will be Buffon’s second foray into the lower division after doing so with Juventus. THEWILL recalls that Juventus suffered an embarrassing relegation to Serie B as a points-deduction penalty for the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal relegated the team.
Buffon was one of the stars that stuck to the club, helped propel them back to contention in Serie A in the very next season by winning the Serie B title in 2007 and continued until a brief one-year stint with Paris Saint-Germain between 2018 and 2019 before returning to Juve.