Italy has given us some of the world’s greatest singers – Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma introduced a whole generation of football fans to opera and reduced many to tears at the Italia ’90 World Cup.
But they’ve also given us one of the worst in Gianluigi Buffon. However, no footballers come even close to belting out their national anthems as passionately on the biggest stage as the towering keeper.
The 38-year old 2006 World Cup winner is playing in his fourth and possibly final European Championships and you can see just how much playing for his country means to the Juventus number one.
He’s the Azzurri’s most capped player, with 160 appearances, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that each time he pulled on the jersey was the first, such is the intensity of feeling in the voice of the six foot-three stopper.
— Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) June 18, 2016
The singing before the game reveals a lot about the character of the players in a side – most of them serious, minds fixed on the game and a bit reserved like Daniele De Rossi. Then the camera pans down the line to Buffon.
Out of tune; woeful, loud – and fantastic. He doesn’t care who is watching. He loves it.
It’s often touted that goalkeepers – like a good red wine – just get better with age and Buffon is a real vintage. What price on a Premier League club snapping him up?
Mind, the last time Manchester United signed an Italian goalie, he only lasted four games. The tracksuit-bottomed Massimo Taibi was signed for £4.5 million by Sir Alex Ferguson in 1999 and was soon saying arrivederci.
Despite making some great saves, he’s best remembered for this howler – and letting in five at Chelsea.
Bet he wasn’t much of a singer, either.