Gianluigi Buffon is an icon of the modern game. Evidently as eloquent with the quill as he is agile between the sticks, the Juventus and Italy captain has penned a heartfelt open letter to the goal that he defends… it’s quite something.
Buffon’s doting poetry was initially released after the veteran goalkeeper broke Serie A’s record for the longest amount of time without conceding a single goal. The streak rose to 974 minutes before he was beaten by a Andrea Belotti penalty.
The romanticism behind Buffon’s sentiments has become prevalent once more after some scintillating performances at Euro 2016. The Italian’s heroics during his nation’s victory over Spain in the first knockout round had everybody, including Spaniard and former teammate Alvaro Morata, vying for Buffon’s affection:
— Izzie (@Izzie177) June 27, 2016
Buffon’s poem, best enjoyed with a vintage red wine, reads as follows:
To My Goal by Gianluigi Buffon
“I was 12 when I turned my back on you, denying my past to guarantee you a safe future.
I went with my heart
I went with my instinct
But the day I stopped looking you in the face is also the day that I started to love you
To protect you
To be your first and last line of defence
I promised myself that I would do everything not to see your face again. Or that I would do it as little as possible. It was painful every time I did, turning round and realising I had disappointed you.
We have always been opposites yet we are complementary, like the sun and the moon. Forced to live side by side without being able to touch. Team-mates for life, a life in which we are denied all contact
More than 25 years ago I made my vow: I swore to protect you. Look after you. A shield against all your enemies. I’ve always thought about your welfare, putting it first even ahead of my own.
I was 12 when I turned my back on my goal. And I will keep doing it as long as my legs, my head and my heart will allow.”
Buffon is one of the few players in the game who is universally adored for his services to football. Fans were delighted to learn that the Italian will not retire from international duty after Euro 2016 as many predicted he would, with Buffon stating outright that he plans to play in the next World Cup.
He is a man true to his word, there’s no doubt that he will maintain his romance with the game for ‘as long as his heart will allow’. And if the heat doesn’t kill him… we may yet enjoy seeing Buffon in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup – we can only hope.