Gianluigi Buffon

Why Do People Hate Gianluigi Buffon?

Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. The Italian shot-stopper has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning over two decades at the top level. However, despite his numerous records and achievements, Buffon has his fair share of critics and detractors.

Longevity Frustrates Opponents

One of the main reasons why people hate Buffon is that his longevity at the top level frustrates opponents. The fact that he has managed to maintain such high standards for so long despite his advanced age rubs some fans the wrong way.

Buffon made his Serie A debut in 1995 at the age of 17. He secured the starting spot at Parma shortly after and established himself as one of the most promising young talents in world football. This was over 25 years ago.

SeasonAgeClubLeague Apps

As illustrated in the table above, Buffon has managed to stretch his career over an incredible span of nearly three decades. He has maintained world-class form well into his 40s, starting over 25 league games in his most recent season at Parma at the age of 44.

This unnatural longevity and consistency at the very highest level into the veteran stage of his career is precisely what frustrates Buffon’s detractors. Fans of rival clubs are irritated that he continues to thwart their strikers even at such an advanced age.

Winning Mentality Sparks Jealousy

Another source of hatred towards Gianluigi Buffon is jealousy and insecurity sparked by his unrelenting winning mentality. The Italian shot-stopper boasts one of the most impressive trophy cabinets in football history.

CompetitionTrophies Won
Serie A10
Coppa Italia5
Supercoppa Italiana6

As the above table shows, Buffon has won a staggering 10 Serie A titles, making him the most decorated goalkeeper in league history. He also captained Italy to World Cup glory in 2006. This unmatched winning pedigree understandably breeds envy among fans of rival clubs.

Buffon has also never been afraid to demonstrate his burning desire for victory. His passionate celebrations and vocal presence in leading teams spark resentment with some, who see it as arrogance or hubris. Ultimately, his insatiable hunger for success is an uncomfortable reminder to others of their own unfulfilled ambitions.

Outspoken Nature Causes Controversy

Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, Gianluigi Buffon’s outspoken demeanor and tendency to court controversy also rubs many football fans up the wrong way. The veteran Italian has made some bold, divisive statements throughout his career.

For example, Buffon has openly criticized officials on numerous occasions. In 2021, he slammed referee Michael Oliver for awarding Real Madrid a last-gasp penalty against Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals, saying that he has “a garbage bin instead of a heart”. He received a three-match ban for these inflammatory post-match comments.

Buffon also famously caused outrage in Italy with some of his political stances. The goalkeeper publicly endorsed controversial right-wing populist Matteo Salvini ahead of the 2018 elections. This led to Buffon being condemned by left-leaning supporters across the country.

While his fiery passion and determination are admirable qualities in a sportsman, Buffon’s inability to filter his provocative opinions has damaged his reputation and earned him his fair share of detractors. His words carry added weight due to his status as an icon in Italian football.

He Plays For The “Wrong” Clubs

Another factor that fuels hostility towards Gigi Buffon from certain circles is the clubs that he has represented during his career. Namely, fierce rivals Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. These allegiances have made him a detested figure among opposition fans.

After making his name at Parma, Buffon spent 17 hugely successful years at Juventus from 2001-2018. This was by far his longest stint at any club. However, due to their utter dominance domestically, Juventus are despised by supporters of other Serie A outfits. Buffon’s association with the Old Lady led rival Italian fans to develop a deep sporting hatred of him.

The 2006 World Cup winner then spent 2018-19 at Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 before returning for a season to Juventus. Again, as the reigning French champions, PSG have grown to become bitterly resented by fans of other clubs in the country. So Buffon’s brief spell in the French capital only added further fuel to the fire for his critics.

Perceived Arrogance and Sense of Entitlement

Another accusation that has been leveled at Gianluigi Buffon over the years is that he has an arrogant sense of entitlement. Detractors point towards the regal aura with which he has carried himself on the pitch as evidence of this.

His authority in organizing defenses and bold body language while shouting instructions have rubbed some observers up the wrong way over the course of his career. Rivals have viewed his leadership style as indicative that he sees himself as the main protagonist on the pitch, leading his “loyal subjects”.

Indeed, Buffon has been accused by critics of believing he deserves special treatment due to his status in the game. When he angrily confronted referee Oliver after the aforementioned Champions League penalty decision, many saw it as a superstar player reacting with an arrogant disbelief that he should be penalized.

Similarly, the veteran goalkeeper also received backlash when he claimed that Italians were superior footballers to Brazilians in mentality and attitude back in 2013. Critics accused Buffon of needless posturing and embodying cultural arrogance.

While he will argue that his leadership skills and winning drive are valuable assets for any team, there is a feeling among some that Buffon carries an overly developed sense of self-importance due to his success.

How has Buffon handled the criticism and hatred directed towards him over the years?

Gianluigi Buffon has dealt with criticism and hostility during his illustrious career in a mostly dignified manner. While no stranger to the occasional outburst or controversial quip, for the most part, the Italian legend has retained grace under pressure when facing detractors or managing volatile situations.

Buffon understands that his longevity and records have made him the pantomime villain in the eyes of opposition fans in Italy and Europe. However, he takes this as a backhanded compliment, saying it motivates him to maintain his high standards to further frustrate rivals.

When faced with jeers, insults or abuse from the stands, Buffon rarely loses his composure. Instead, he channels any anger at his detractors onto his on-field performance. He uses criticism as inspiration to prove doubters wrong with his consistently world-class displays in goal for club and country.

The 2006 World Cup winner also philosophical about the unique pressure and exposure faced by footballers in the modern media landscape. He argues that it comes with the territory of being in the public eye so frequently.

Therefore, while Buffon has made high-profile mistakes withinflammatory comments, he generally responds to hatred aimed his way with class and grace befitting someone of his standing within the game.

What impact could Buffon’s eventual retirement have on public perceptions of him?

When Gianluigi Buffon does eventually hang up his gloves for good, it may well soften wider public opinion towards him and erase some lingering grudges held by football fans. No longer an active threat thwarting rivals week-in, week-out, there is likely to be greater appreciation for his feats.

As the old adage says, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Once Buffon steps away from the limelight and intensity of elite competition, there is likely to be an absence of the envy that fuels much hostility towards him.

With the raw emotion of rivalry removed from the equation, opposition supporters may be more receptive to recognizing Buffon’s extraordinary longevity, concentration span and consistency at the elite level. These are incredibly rare attributes in a goalkeeper and deserve immense credit.

Buffon’s forthright personality and tendency to spark controversy with outspoken opinions have distracted from his playing achievements within the game for some fans. However, in retirement, analysis of his career should become more neutral and objective.

The Italian legend also seems likely to carry himself with grace and dignity as an ambassadorial figure for the sport post-retirement. This could further rehabilitate his image in the eyes of doubters.

In short, Gianluigi Buffon stepping back from top level football should prompt wider appreciation and admiration for his brilliance as memories of past grudges fade.

What is the key criticism most regularly leveled at Buffon and is it fair?

The criticism most commonly directed at Gianluigi Buffon throughout his career is that he is arrogant and has an over-developed sense of importance. However, while the legendary goalkeeper undoubtedly has a bold presence and profile, this accusation is generally unfair when properly assessed.

Self-assuredness is an invaluable attribute in an elite athlete competing at the very highest level for over two decades. Buffon’s confidence and determination to take responsibility in leading his teams stem from the right competitive mindset.

His passion in organizing defenses could be misinterpreted as entitlement by some. But in reality, this leadership ability demonstrates maturity and intelligence in understanding exactly what is required for the team to function properly and win games.

Similarly, while incidents such as confronting referees show flashes of frustration, they should not necessarily be taken as a sign of hubris. Pressure situations tend to provoke extreme reactions, both positive and negative. These instances must be balanced against Buffon’s generally dignified handling of the many challenges he has faced throughout his career.

Ultimately, it is grossly unfair and wide of the mark to suggest that Buffon believes he deservesspecial treatment compared to others or carries himself as the main protagonist on the pitch. His longevity can be explained through commitment and fine margins, rather than arrogance.

In many ways, the ‘arrogance’ myth is perpetuated mainly by jealous rival fans keen to bring down an opponent who has frustrated them over many years due to his supreme ability between the posts.

Why do some football fans undervalue Buffon’s longevity and records?

Certain football fans are guilty of occasionally undervaluing and downplaying Gianluigi Buffon’s extraordinary longevity at the elite level along with his glittering array of records. There are a few explanations for this tendency among some observers:

Jealousy and Bitterness

As referenced, one of the main roots is basic jealousy or bitterness from supporters of rival clubs annoyed at Buffon’s exploits over 25 years. His ability to maintain such incredible standards well into his 40s grates with some non-Italians who like to propagate lazy stereotypes about Serie A being a “slow” or “easy” league.

Failure to Appreciate Goalkeepers

On a wider level, goalkeeping achievements still generally don’t receive the respect and recognition they deserve across the sport. So unique attributes like Buffon’s consistency, concentration skills and longevity are often underappreciated by fans more enamored with strikers and flashy midfielder technicians.

Lack of Major International Honors

Another explanation put forward by critics for downplaying Buffon’s records is that he failed to win any major international tournaments with Italy aside from the 2006 World Cup. However, this is an extremely simplistic prism through which to assess an individual player’s career achievements. Deep runs were consistently made by Italy at Euros and in the Champions League under Buffon’s stewardship.

Ultimately, these kinds of attempts to qualify or poke holes in such an extraordinary body of work over 25 years reek of desperation and pedantry. All evidence suggests that Buffon’s records and consistency levels are essentially unmatched across football history. The fact that he has maintained this pace well into his 40s is testament to a rare obsession and resilience.


In closing, while Gianluigi Buffon’s style, records and affiliations understandably spark sporting bitterness from rival fans, the accusations of arrogance do not stand up well to measured analysis. His longevity and consistency over 25 years at the summit of world football are essentially unmatched in the goalkeeping arena.

Once the impassioned hatred fueled by live competition dissipates after the legendary Italian steps away from top level action, there is likely to be far greater appreciation for his extraordinary career path.

The only shame will be if new generations of fans fail to fully comprehend just how special witnessing an athlete of Buffon’s calibre competing until the age of 44 really is. Such supreme physical and mental standards maintained over two and a half decades truly make him a once in a lifetime phenomenon worthy of recognition.

FAQs about Gianluigi Buffon

Has Buffon ever played in England?

No, throughout his long career, Gianluigi Buffon has only ever played professional club football in Italy and France.

He spent 17 hugely successful years with Juventus, along with early spells at Parma and most recently returning to Parma for the 2021/2022 season at the age of 44.

In 2018, the legendary goalkeeper signed with Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, spending one season in the French capital before rejoining Juventus briefly in 2019/20 to finish on a high.

But England is one major European league yet to feature on Buffon’s comprehensive CV. The closest experience he has to English football was painfully losing to Liverpool in the 2018/19 Champions League round of 16 with PSG.

What is Buffon’s playing status for 2022 and beyond?

After proving he could still compete in Serie A beyond his 44th birthday last season with Parma, Gianluigi Buffon is currently without a club ahead of the 2022/2023 campaign.

However, despite speculation of potential retirement, Buffon has made it clear that he still wishes to continue playing if the right challenge emerges, recently stating:

“If someone makes me an important proposal, to keep feeling like an important player…I will evaluate it.”

So while the Italian legend is technically unattached at present in the summer of 2022, a return to action at nearly 45 years of age should not be ruled out given Buffon has defied expectations in recent seasons to perform at an extremely high level late into his 30s.

Another emotional return to either Juventus or Parma in 2022 feels the most likely outcome if Buffon does put pen to paper on a new deal.

What is Buffon’s market value now?

Despite being 44 years old, Gianluigi Buffon still carries a respectable market valuation due to his enduring quality and iconic global profile.

As of July 2022, Buffon is estimated to be worth €1 million based on his recent performances still competing in Serie A with Parma and extensive experience. This underlines his condition and pedigree.

To put this into perspective, the average market value in Serie A is around €5 million and the median age is 26 years old. So the fact that Buffon commands a seven-figure price tag despite being nearly twice the average player’s age is mightily impressive.

Naturally, €1 million pales in comparison to the €60 million peak valuation he reached a decade ago in his prime at Juventus. But it remains a notable mark of respect for his veteran standing.

What shirt number has Buffon worn?

Throughout his career, Gianluigi Buffon has predominately worn the #1 shirt representing the goalkeeper position for club and country. This includes his time at Parma, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, when Buffon returned to Juventus for the 2019/2020 season, the #1 shirt was already occupied by Wojciech Szczęsny who had assumed starting GK duties.

So for this singular campaign, with Szczęsny’s permission, Buffon changed his squad number to the iconic #77 which he also wears for Italy. This was intended as a tribute to the year (1977) he was born in.

Aside from that one season anomaly, though, the reflexes and profile of the Azzurri legend have been matched by that archetypal #1 flashing across his back during his peak years at the top. A fitting number for potentially the greatest goalkeeper of all time.

Should Buffon have won more at international level with Italy?

This is a difficult one to assess definitively given just how slim those margins at major tournament knockout stages can prove. But the overriding consensus is that based on overall performances both individually and as part of strong Italian teams, Gianluigi Buffon performed at an extremely high standard for Italy for over 20 years.

The pinnacle was obviously captaining them to 2006 World Cup glory in Germany. But either side of that golden summer, Buffon consistently led quality Italy sides deep into Euros and Confederations Cups. So he certainly fulfilled his potential for the national team.

In truth, Buffon was desperately unlucky not to claim a second international honour at Euro 2012 having only suffered a 4-0 demolition at the hands of all-conquering world champions Spain in the final. Similarly, Italy matched Germany stride for stride at Euro 2016 before simply being edged out on penalties. Fine margins came into play.

On balance, when factoring in both and team results along with his exceptional individual displays between the sticks for Italy, there should be no question marks over the extent of Buffon’s achievements in representing his country with pride for so long.

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