PARIS — Gianluigi Buffon has begun his new adventure with Paris Saint-Germain following 17 years with Juventus.
Buffon, 40, signed a one-year contract with an option for an additional seasons, just weeks after he was expected to retire from football.
Instead, he will resume his career outside of Serie A for the first time and be tasked with adding his significant experience to PSG as they continue to pursue Champions League success.
“It is with a great feeling of happiness that I join Paris Saint-Germain,” Buffon said. “For the first time in my career, I am leaving my country and only a project this ambitious could have encouraged me to make such a decision. I want to thank the club and the president for their confidence.”
“To have followed the club’s incredible progression in recent years, I know what dreams Paris Saint-Germain and its fans have in their hearts. I am going to bring all my energy, all my experience and all of my thirst to win to help my new club achieve all the great objectives it has set out for the future.
“With my teammates and our supporters, we will share fantastic emotions at the Parc des Princes and in all of the stadiums in which we are going to represent Paris, a marvelous city that deserves to one day see its club at the top of international football.”
Taillé pour Paris ! pic.twitter.com/yBYMkX02rD
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) July 6, 2018
Buffon joined Juventus from Parma in 2001 for €52 million — still a record fee for a goalkeeper — and has enjoyed a glittering career, having won the World Cup, the Europa League and numerous Serie A and Coppa Italia titles.
The Champions League has so far eluded him, however, and the union may be beneficial for both sides following two consecutive exits by PSG in the round of 16.
“We all feel an immense pride in welcoming Gianluigi Buffon into the great Paris Saint-Germain family,” said PSG CEO Nasser Al- Khelaïfi. “The immensity of his career, as well as his ambitious personality, unifying and elegant, make him one of the most admired and respected players in world football.
“At 40 years old, his passion for football is intact and Gianluigi has found the ideal environment in our project to set himself extremely high objectives transmitting his experience, not only to the other goalkeepers at the club, but to all of our players.
“Our supporters will know how to welcome Buffon with the enthusiasm and love that he deserves. His arrival reaffirms our will to always go higher, an ambition that we intend to pursue with a determination just as strong.”
Italy’s most-capped player, Buffon has also made the second-most appearances in Serie A history behind AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and has won a staggering collection of individual accolades.
He also finished in second in the Ballon d’Or in 2006 and has won 12 Serie A goalkeeper of the year awards.
Buffon is expected to act as a mentor for Alphonse Areola before serving as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Areola will start at least the first half of the Champions League group stage next season, as Buffon was banned for three games by UEFA for comments he made about the referee after Juventus lost in the Champions League quarterfinals last season.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.