This summer marks the end of an era for European football, as goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon ends his 17-year stay at Italian giants Juventus. I hope that his recent spat with English referee Michael Oliver will not live long in the memory.
The veteran keeper was expected to retire from the game he has served so well for so long. However, a recent interview suggests that he could carry on playing next season after he admitted that he had received a few interesting proposals.
According to ESPN, PSG have offered Buffon a two-year deal, while reports elsewhere suggest that Premier League clubs Manchester City, Liverpool and even West Ham may be interested in signing the veteran star this summer.
Parma on the rise
However, something of enormous interest to Buffon also happened recently, as former club Parma returned to Serie A after three straight promotions. The former Serie A regulars suffered bankruptcy in 2015 and relegated to Serie D.
In recent seasons, though, they have stormed back up the leagues and will be playing top-flight football once next season. It is an extraordinary rise back to the pinnacle of Italian football for the Gialloblu.
Parma were once an exciting Serie A team in the late 1990s and early 2000’s, with Buffon one of the key figures in a run that included finishing as Serie A runners-up and winning the Coppa Italia on two occasions.
Could a return to Parma be on the cards for Buffon?
Buffon started his professional career with Parma and went on to make 168 Serie A appearances for the club before becoming the most costly goalkeeper of all time in 2001 when he moved to Juventus for a fee of around £50million.
Maybe the romantic in me believes that Buffon returning to Parma this summer is a possibility. As soon as I knew that Parma had won promotion and realised that Buffon was leaving Juventus, I thought could it be possible the great goalkeeper could be returning home.
Parma have endured some really hard times in recent years, which resulted in their demotion to Serie D. Whether they could realistically afford to sign Buffon would be a major question. There would also be the question of Buffon actually wanting to return to his former club.
If Buffon wanted to make the move, then no doubt he could afford to take what would likely be a massive wage cut to represent Parma once more in Serie A. It is a move that would make sense if you look at it from a sentimental point of view anyway.
It sounds like a love story, a returning hero coming home after a long stay away to enjoy one final swansong in the place he used to call home.
Parma outsiders to sign Buffon
It seems I was not the only who believes that Buffon could return to Parma this summer. The Juventus keeper is now odds of 10/1 to join Parma this summer, which makes the Serie A returnees outsiders to sign Buffon.
Liverpool are favourites to sign Buffon, while a move to MLS or the Chinese Super League are also shorter odds. No doubt, all three moves would boost Buffon’s bank balance.
However, Buffon has been a well-paid footballer for the whole of his career. I doubt he needs to make such an extreme move to China just for the big money on offer. A move to MLS may appeal for the lifestyle, though.
It seems that the world really is Gigi Buffon’s oyster this summer. However, some will be hoping that the lure of his boyhood club will be enough for Buffon to try to help maintain Parma’s status in the Italian top-flight next season.
Could Gianluigi Buffon return to Parma this summer?
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