The 13th November 2017 will certainly not be one of the favourite dates in the history of the Italian football. It is a day that a dark cloud descended on Italian football.
Firstly is a day that the Swedish National team made sure that the Azzurri did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup showpiece that is set for Russia in June 2018.
It will be for the first time in sixty years that there will not be an Italian team when the world cup draw takes place. A team that that has won the world cup on four occasions and have been runners up on two occasions, one can clearly rate this team as one of the giants of football.
On top of this, the team has produced several legends of the game that include the likes of Dino Zoff, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, Francesco Totti, Roberto Baggio and, of course, Gianluigi Buffon.
The second reason why this date is a bad one is the fact that it brought the curtain down on Buffon’s illustrious career in the Azzurri shirt. Many football lovers across the world were hoping that the World cup in Russia would be the perfect setting to bid farewell to the lovers of the game of billions. Sadly, the script did not go according to plan and the Swedes brought an abrupt end to this dream.
“Gigi” as the man was simply called was not as colourful as the legendary former Mexican Goalkeeper known as Jorge Campos. He was also not as eccentric and adventurous as the former Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita who was famous for his scorpion kicks as well as dribbles into territories that are foreign to goalkeepers.
He was also less flamboyant then the modern genius of sweeper keepers, the German Manuel Neuer. However, he has set his marker as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever produced in world football. It would be very hard to dismiss claims that is indeed the greatest of them all.
The man has been the bedrock around which the famous Italian ultra-effective defensive systems have been built around for just over two decades and in that time amassing 175 senior international caps. This makes him most capped Italian player of all time. He is also the longest serving Italian captain with 75 caps.
He has won many individual awards and is regarded as a gentleman on and off the pitch. A loyal servant of the game. A model professional who respected the game, his team mates and opposing players, coaches, referees and administrators. A man that always appreciated and respected the lovers of the game of billions across the world.
The FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia has been robbed of one of the great international teams of all time and will surely miss out on the talents of the man simply known as Gigi Buffon. Arrivederci signore Gigi Buffon. Let me quote.
By Andile Chase Namntu – The Armchair Football Guru