Sunday 30 April 2017

Amazing Buffon set for 1,000th appearance

Juventus' goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Photo: Giorgio Perottino
Juventus' goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Photo: Giorgio Perottino

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will make the 1,000th appearance of his professional career in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Albania.

It will be his 168th game for Italy, making him the most capped European player - ahead of Spain's Iker Casillas and Latvian Vitalijs Astafjevs.

Buffon needs another 17 caps to break the 184-appearance world record of former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan.

"It's a huge pleasure," said the 39-year-old Juventus captain, who has conceded 799 goals in his 999 games for club and country so far.

He made his professional debut for Parma in 1995 at the age of 17 and his international debut two years later. He has played 612 times for Juventus since joining them in 2001.

A World Cup winner in 2006, Buffon has previously said he plans to retire after next year's tournament in Russia.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are under investigation for allegedly tapping up and offering a forbidden inducement to a Stoke City schoolboy. The Anfield side are also accused of reneging on an agreement to pay the youngster's school fees, leaving his parents - who pulled out of a deal with the club as a result - in thousands of pounds of debt.

To compound the family's woes, the unnamed boy cannot now play for another team until Stoke receive a compensation fee of almost £50,000.

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Everton have confirmed plans to leave Goodison Park and build a new £300m-plus stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

However, there are still a number of hurdles to be negotiated for the project, including planning permission.

Goodison Park has been Everton's home for 125 years. It is one of the world's oldest purpose-built football grounds and it was where, in September 1949, Ireland became the first team to beat England at home when Con Martin and Peter Farrell scored the goals in a famous 2-0 victory.

Irish Independent

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