Well, I didn’t think the 2018 World Cup could suck more, but now Italy is out, marking the end of my beloved Gianluigi Buffon’s international career. There are many Italian soccer players that I have admired over the years, but my love for this man transcends our shared heritage. He is one of my favorite athletes of all time. He’s up there with Tiger woods and Larry Bird for me. His intensity is reminiscent of Tom Brady, but he’s 100x cooler. Buffon is one of the best competitors of all time.

So here are 5 reasons to love Gianluigi Buffon…if you don’t already:

5: Buffon takes time out of his vacation away from soccer to connect with his young fans.

Gigi litteraly took time out of his vacation to play soccer with his fans.

This story inspired inspired my “Top 5 Soccer Stars I would Vacation With” post

4: He is THE face of Italian soccer for many here in the United States

Before Buffon the face of soccer in Italy was Roberto Baggio, who is still considered one of the best players of all time. Baggio’s legacy was marred by the missed PK in the 1994 World Cup Final. I cannot speak to how the average Italian citizen feels about Baggio, but to many uninformed soccer fans in America he’s the guy that blew it. Sure there has since been Totti, Pirlo, Del Piero and Cannavaro, but Buffon’s electricity lit up the 2006 World Cup and he brought home silverware.

Walk into your average soccer-loving Italian restaurant and which player in the squad picture hanging on the wall do you notice first (granted he’s wearing a gold kit)?

This is the reason he made my soccer “Mount Rushmore.”

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3: He is still a Champions League Keeper at Juventus

Unlike watching Pirlo display his last flickers of brilliance at NYCFC and being a shadow of his former self, Buffon is still one of the best Keepers in the game at 39. This summer Bleacher Report ranked him the 4th best keeper in Europe going into the 2017/2018 season stating:

“His mobility and reaction times have faded just a tinge; the latter stages of the recent Champions League campaign proved that. But it’s a measure of how good Buffon is that, even in slight decline, he’s still better than the large majority of the field.”

He’s 3x UEFA keeper of the year, an honor he won last season at age 39.

So continue to enjoy the show!

2: He’s a winner.

2006 World Cup Winner

2003 UEFA Best Player in Europe  –

3x UEFA Best Keeper

8x Italian Champion – 6x in a row in his THIRTIES! (2012-2016/17)

3x Italian Cup

6x Italian Super Cup

1: His passion for the game, his teammates and his country.

There are THOUSANDS of pictures of Buffon acting psychotic during the game. Emotional to the point of concern actually. Then the final whistle blows and you see him smiling like his best friend just showed up to his door with a fresh baked calzone and hugging opposing players like they just got back from three years at sea.

Do me a favor, Google Search “Buffon Emotions” and look at the image results.

His passion for this game can be summed up in the two images below. The final whistle blew and he realizes that his time in an Italian kit are over. I literally cried and threw up on my keyboard when I saw these pictures.

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No, God No. Noooo!

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I saw this picture and I gagged

These are just 5 reasons why you should love Gianluigi Buffon, but in case you have been living under a rock for the last 15 or so years, I will just leave this right here. Ciao!

PS:The only person I love more is Teddy Bruschi 

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Hey I am awesome and you are awesome, so lets hug and laugh!