Gianluigi Buffon wasn't even close to being the busiest player on the field against Bulgaria on Sunday night. That's what happens when the opposition only records five shots over the course of a 90-minute game. And it's not like Buffon is all too unfamiliar with a situation like that. I mean, look at some of his games from recent years. Lots of standing around.
But like plenty of other times in the past for both club and country, Buffon was right there when called upon. He made the difficult save look like it's no big deal at all. He made the important, late-game save to keep the win intact with the clock approaching full time. Like when Bulgaria had one last attack Sunday night in an attempt to tie the game and Buffon calmly batted away a rocket of a shot as he dove to his right to keep the shutout alive..
That's Buffon in a nutshell, and that was the final result, his 62nd career shutout while wearing an Italy jersey, as the Azzurri crept even closer to qualifying for the 2016 European Championship with a 1-0 win over Bulgaria at the Renzo Barbera in Palermo.
So, let's just recap here:
- Buffon making big-time saves — check.
- Buffon getting a clean sheet in his 150th Italy appearance — check.
- Italy winning 1-0 on a historic night for their captain — check.
If that doesn't sound as Italy as Italy can get, I don't know what is. Italy gonna Italy, folks.
And while Daniele De Rossi was off scoring goals and then getting sent off in the same game, Buffon was just being Buffon. We've seen it so many times before that it's become routine at this point. Eh, stoppage-time save to secure the win? No big deal! Have Buffon stand around for 85 minutes, but make two incredibly important saves? Works for me!
We can say Buffon is great in just about every game because it's pretty much the truth. The games where he's his typical self greatly outweigh the games where he's been less than stellar. But in these games where he hits a landmark achievement and does something great, those are the game you truly appreciate how long he's been doing this for and just how incredibly consistent he is at his age.
A clean sheet on his 150th cap, Gianluigi Buffon has now been the Italy No.1 'keeper for 18 years. Image says it all. pic.twitter.com/amCkLvytdO— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 6, 2015
Amen to that. And it's just crazy to think that Buffon has been Italy's No. 1 ever since I was in elementary school and the Spice Girls were actually relevant. That's well over half my life, and yet Buffon is still the best there is in the game despite getting closer and closer to being 40 years old.
Keep doing what you do, Gigi. It sure is fun watching from afar.