The sensitive soul that made Buffon great

The art, the mask and the depression of the greatest of them all.

When a sports icon leaves the stage, the critics forget they are one and happily indulge in fairytale praise. In the case of Gianluigi Buffon, it couldn’t be done differently: his figure is majestic. But again, the bigger the athlete, the greater the courage it takes for the journalist to face their size and scale their experience. We have to do that here and now. Buffon was huge because most of all he felt small. He was a regular blasphemer and never stopped confessing before the Lord. Already a child prodigy at the age of 17, he hasn’t stopped pursuing his dream (albeit in agony) up to 45. There are those who accused him of continuing to gamble for money a month ago he refused One-year contract in Saudi Arabia worth 30 million per season.

Irony aside, numbers were never relevant to Buffon. First of all, Gigione’s existence is fundamentally based on his soul. The sacred little flame that moves everything and silences nothing: “I’m here to speak about your soul.” Yes, your soul. You have one, believe it or not.’ This is how it begins confession To The Players’ Stand of 2019, in which Buffon addressed the experience of depression publicly for the first time. “In a few days you have the opportunity of a lifetime: making your debut in Serie A with Parma. You should stay home and sleep. And instead you go to a nightclub with a friend of spring. Just a beer right? But then you exaggerate. You play the strong man. This is what you usually do to cover up the pressure you don’t even know you have. Soon you’re standing in front of the nightclub and arguing with a police officer. Please be quiet and go home.

But that’s true from these mistakes that Buffon, as he himself will admit in the course of the confession, will structure his own being. From husband, father, captain.

Eighty times for the national team, countless times for Juventus – a club he is inseparable from and has become an icon loved and hated (by Other followers of the peninsula) at the same time. During his career, Buffon won with Parma (Italian Cup, Super Cup and UEFA Cup, between 1998 and 1999), a team he made his debut with at the age of 17 against Weah and Baggio’s Milan, among others. When Nevio Scala, Ducali’s manager at the time, told him the night before that he would be making his Serie A debut against the Rossoneri, Buffon replied: “No problem”. The day after, while still a boy, he will put on one of the most memorable performances in Serie A history. In Italy he will win 10 leagues, 6 Italian Super Cups and 5 national cups with Juventus. At PSG in France, he won everything in his home country, but the dream of the Champions League that he craved so much and never achieved in his career failed to materialize again. He is the leader in Italy, world champion in 2006 and, as a goalkeeper, holds the record for appearances for the national team (176) and in Serie A (657). He still holds the unbeaten record (974′ in the 2015/16 season).

It seems almost inappropriate for us to open a debate on this subject here, and we therefore take the responsibility to speak on our behalf: Gianluigi Buffon was the greatest goalkeeper in football history. And not just because, as Luigi Garlando continues to write diary“Casillas, Neuer and the others he saw almost all passed him like poplars on a mountain road.” Buffon hides more than he shows. But it’s only when you dig deep inside that you discover the height of his being. In fact, we read in the proverbs: “Man’s exaltation humbles him, and he who is humbled in spirit attains glory» (29:13). Buffon has embodied this tenet for as long as he has known, and indeed professes: “Money, fame, your dream job.” You’ll be sure to think: What could be dangerous about all of this?? Well, that’s a paradox. What does that mean?

“A person who is not afraid can easily forget that he has a mind, that he has a soul. If you live nihilistjust thinking about football Your soul will begin to wither. Over time, you become so depressed that you don’t even want to get up.

Behind those words lies a depth of spirit that has all too often been overlooked when it comes to Buffon. Strong as he is weak, the strongman with his arms raised and glaring at the fans behind him, not watching his teammates’ penalties because he trusts in the courage of those in the seats. It’s not strong tout court. Nobody is. At this point, one might be wondering how Gigi Buffon managed to emerge from depression. Here one would expect a heartbreaking story (Dele Alli style) about the long and arduous journey that enabled him to return to, or live with, life. Not at all. Buffon speaks of one epiphany.

Marc Chagall, The Walk (1918)

“You’re going to a museum,” he says to his 25-year-old self The specific day. It will be the most important decision of your life. If you do not enter this museum and continue your life as a football player like Superman, you will continue to lock your feelings in a cell and your soul will deteriorate. But if you go inside you will see hundreds of paintings by Chagall. None of these will impress you except one: it’s called The Walk». The painting is well known and the feelings that this vision evoked in Buffon (love, childhood memories, sweetness) are not the most important here.

We need to grasp the magnitude of Buffon’s admission: it wasn’t therapy that saved him, nor love with a woman, nor athletic redemption. It was a work of art that – once again – testified to that a sensitive and deep soul, creation of an iconic sportsman who is already in full sporting activity. Today that he is leaving football, we can hardly digest his departure. We, who also attacked him for his “Tottic” umbilical cord syndrome, were blind: the child is always right and his feelings should not be judged. Not even when the child is grown.

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