Sign a contract one week, be recognized as one of the best goalkeepers in the world — again — just a couple of days later. This is the life that Juventus legend Gigi Buffon lives right now. Pretty good, if you ask me.
Buffon, who just extended his contract through the 2016-17 season last Thursday, has been nominated as one of the five finalists for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2014 —which is voted on by the players themselves and will be announced on the first day of December — as announced on Monday. Here's the full, five-goalkeeper long list, courtesy of FIFA.com:
Manuel Neuer (Germany / FC Bayern München)
Was last year's FIFA FIFPro World XI goalkeeper.
Claudio Bravo (Chile / FC Barcelona)
First nomination on the 55-man shortlist.
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium / Chelsea FC)
He is making his debut on the 55-man shortlist.
Iker Casillas (Spain / Real Madrid CF)
Was the World XI goalkeeper for five straight years (2008-2012).
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy / Juventus FC)
(Side note: Ikeer Casillas? Really? Has anybody actually watched him consistently over the last 12 or 18 months? If you want to know, go over to SB Nation's Real Madrid site, Managing Madrid, and ask them about how much Casillas has regressed over the last couple of season. Name recognition, holmes.)
But wait, what about the little factoid about Buffon? Well, glad you asked.
Was the World XI goalkeeper in 2006 and 2007. He is the only goalkeeper to appear on all ten World XI shortlists since the introduction of the award in 2005
That's consistent — and deserved — recognition, kids. Say what you want about individual awards and how much they truly mean in the big picture of things in the game today, but Buffon being recognized every year for an award voted on by his peers for a decade straight is pretty dang good. And there's a reason for it — he's still one of the best in the world. There weren't doubts about how much longer he could play following the World Cup like there was with Casillas. Nope, Buffon has just continued to be Buffon as the last few years have progressed.
And as he stands two months away from his 37th birthday, it's not like he's suddenly slowing down. Buffon, despite Juve's inconsistencies at times in front of him, leads Serie A with nine shutouts this season. Not bad for a guy who's about to officially reach his late-30s.
There's a reason why they call this guy 'Superman' and 'God.' He's just the G.O.A.T.
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