From Serie B to nine-time Scudetto winner - Gianluigi Buffon's greatest moments at Juventus

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With the Italian icon having made his last appearance on Sunday, Goal looks back at his remarkable 17-year stay in Turin

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    The most expensive goalkeeper ever

    After proving himself the best young goalkeeper in the world at Parma, the 23-year-old Gianluigi Buffon became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when he joined Juventus in 2001 for €52 million, which remains a record.

    "Juve are a very big team," the Carrara native said at the time, "and I'm sure we're going to win many trophies together."

    He wasn't wrong...

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    Figo penalty save

    Juventus were 2-0 up on the night, and 3-2 ahead on aggregate, when Real Madrid were awarded a penalty in the 67th minute of the pair's Champions League semi-final second-leg showdown in Turin in 2003.

    Ballon d'Or winner Luis Figo stepped up to take it but his spot-kick was superbly read by Buffon, who dived to his right to push the ball away to safety. 

    Just six minutes later, Pavel Nedved made it 3-0, thus rendering Zinedine Zidane's late goal purely academic. However, as Juve midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi admitted afterwards, "If Figo's penalty had gone in, the game could have been very different."

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    Inzaghi save

    Juve's appearance in the 2003 final ended in bitter disappointment, with AC Milan triumphing 3-2 on penalties after the two sides had played out an absorbing 0-0 draw after 120 tension-filled minutes at Old Trafford.

    Buffon couldn't have done much more to help his side over the line, even saving two spot-kicks, from Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze, in the shootout.

    In addition, Juve would have fallen behind just 16 minutes in had it not been for their goalkeeper, who pulled off a stunning stop from an Inzaghi header that left the Milan forward holding his head in sheer disbelief.

    "Even today, I still don't know how he got to that ball," SuperPippo later admitted.

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    Staying at Juventus in Serie B

    During a question and answer session with young Juventus fans a couple of years ago, a boy stood up and introduced himself as Lorenzo from Parma.

    "Here's my question," he began. "Why did you decide to go down to Serie B with Juventus [in 2006] when you were a World Cup winner, given so many other teams wanted you?"

    "Hi Lorenzo," Buffon replied. "Say hello to Parma for me when you go home – it always has a place in my heart.

    "Anyway, I chose to drop down into Serie B with Juve because I thought of you. I thought about you because, in football, we talk a lot. But I firmly believe in certain moments you need to replace words with deeds."

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    Alves save

    Buffon has always maintained that Juventus would have gone on to beat Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final had they not conceded a goal on the counterattack while well on top in the second half of a thrilling encounter in Berlin.

    Indeed, after falling behind to Ivan Rakitic's early opener, Juve took control of the contest after the interval and deservedly equalised through Alvaro Morata in the 55th minute.

    The game could easily have been over by the break, though, had Buffon not demonstrated his remarkable agilty in keeping out an effort from Dani Alves.

    The Juve No.1 had been moving in the wrong direction but he somehow readjusted sufficiently to reach the shot with his left arm, showing incredible strength to keep the ball out of the net.

    Barca went on to win 3-1, of course, but Buffon's reflex save remains etched in the memory.

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    Lyon save: Funeral quote

    "It’s fun when people want to hold your funeral and then you prove them wrong,” the 38-year-old Buffon admitted before his side's Champions League clash with Lyon.

    "I live to make them eat their rash words." He did just that on the night of October 18, 2016.

    During a game in which Juve were reduced to 10 men, Buffon not only saved a penalty from Alexandre Lacazette, he also pulled off a superb stop to keep out a goal-bound effort from Nabil Fekir.

    Buffon had been wrongfooted by a deflection off the boot of Leonardo Bonucci but he inexplicably managed to diver the ball over the bar with his outstretched right arm. 

    Juve held on to claim a crucial win but it was also a triumph for Buffon, who had been foolishly written off by some on the back of a couple of costly errors, for club and country.

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    Breaking Rossi's Serie A record

    When Gianluigi Buffon went a record-breaking 974 minutes without conceding a goal in Serie A in spring, 2016, he marked his achievement in his own inimitable style: by penning a letter to his goal.

    It concluded: "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 being Buffon, he also dedicated a line to each and every one of his Juventus team-mates who had helped him surpass Sebastiano Rossi's long-standing record.

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    Beating Barca in Turin

    Amid the hysteria of Juve's barnstorming blitz of Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash in Turin in April 2017, the importance of Buffon's brilliant save from Andres Iniesta was almost completely overlooked.

    Paulo Dybala's double had understandably commanded most of the headlines but Buffon had made a crucial intervention shortly after the Argentine's first strike.

    With just over 20 minutes gone, Messi put Iniesta through on goal with the most delicious of defence-splitting passes. The Spaniard shot early but not early enough to beat Buffon, who showed amazing reflexes in diverting the ball to safety with his left arm.

    Afterwards, he played down the significance of his stop, saying, "I have the good fortune to play in a team made up of champions and if I want to continue to have the good reputation I've always enjoyed, I must make these saves and they must be the norm."

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    Scudetto No.9

    Although Buffon and many of his Juve team-mates still count the two titles taken away from them after the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, the history books will show that he officially won nine Scudetti.

    That still makes him unique in the world of calcio, as this season's success - Juve's seventh in a row - saw Buffon move clear of Virgino Rosetta, Giovanni Ferrari and Giuseppe Furino in the Serie A all-time honours' list.

    As Juve president Andrea Agnelli said to the departing goalkeeper on Thursday, "Of the many trophies in the Juventus museum, around 30 per cent have your name on them."

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    Final farewell

    Buffon announced that he would be leaving Juve at the end of the 2017-18 season at an emotional press conference in Turin. 

    "I believe that if I am still here at the age of 40 performing to this level, it is thanks to Juventus, whose approach to work is totally different to everyone else in the world.

    “I made this philosophy my own too and am sure I’ll use it in future, in my life after football, as it’s the only way I know to reach results and to get there with the joy of having worked hard, driven yourself to the limit and given your all.

    “Aside from trophies, that is the greatest gift I have received from Juventus and I will forever be grateful."

    As Juve will be to him.