Nothing that Gianluigi Buffon does should be surprising anymore simply because he's basically done everything that's humanly possible. The bar is set so high with him, we probably can't even see it up in the clouds. He's walking and living greatness, and rarely does anything actually happen to deter us from that notion. If I could just put a bunch of goat emojis in a post when talking about Buffon, it would probably be deemed appropriate.
Sunday night's 2-1 win over Fiorentina had Buffon's stamp all over it — especially where the final score ended up being. There were other aspects that played into what went down at the Franchi (like Mario Mandzukic and Álvaro Morata scoring goals), but it was Buffon, true to form, who secured the three points for Juventus with his big-time heroics. Nor was it surprising to see playing the role as hero. It's what we've become used to over his decade-plus as Juve's No. 1.
The way he did it, though, wasn't what we see from Buffon on a week-in, week-out basis.
That's the beauty of this win. That's beauty of what, at the time of the final whistle being blown on Sunday, put Juventus on the brink of doing for a record fifth straight time. And that's the beauty of having somebody like Buffon back there for Juventus. He's 38 years old and still doing what he did at 18 and 28. It's not like Nikola Kalinic's penalty was right down the middle and all Buffon had to do was wait for it to travel into his open arms. No, it involved a dive at full stretch to his left, then the wherewithal to deny Federico Bernardeschi with a kick save on the rebound.
Within about five seconds, Buffon not only kept Juventus in front, but prevented us talking about how an extremely soft penalty call caused Juventus from winning their 24th game in the last 25 league fixtures.
Think about the context of it all for minute.
It's the 89th minute. A penalty that should not have been called on Juan Cuadrado just inside the box is called anyway. It was the latest moment in a second half that was as unpredictable as unpredictable gets. Kalinic, the man who both scored Fiorentina's first goal earlier in the second half and drew the penalty, stepped to the spot as thoughts of Juventus heading back to Turin with just a point in their pockets.
Yet, right before the penalty was taken, I just had the thought of "Eh, Buffon's got it" pop into my head.
Little did I know, he actually did.
I guess we can all chalk that gut feeling I had up to pure and simple dumb luck. Penalties are one of a goalkeeper's worst enemies simply because of its design and structure. (And no, I'm not saying that just because I've seen a few penalties be scored while I was playing in goal.) The success rate vastly overrules that of the save percentage. Even Buffon, for as amazing as he is, is a mere mortal when it comes to penalties. It's the same for just about every keeper — from Rubinho to Buffon.
But it was on this night, one that, combined with what we saw happen on Monday clinched a fifth consecutive Scudetto, that Buffon became the runaway choice for Man of the Match in a five-second span. That's just how important his double save truly was.
So many times we've seen Buffon make one save in a game and have it be something that kept Juventus in front. Well, on Sunday, he made six saves, the most he's had in a Serie A game this season. And it's nothing against the other four, but it's pretty easy to figure out which two we will remember two weeks, two months, even two years from now.
Buffon went all-out Buffon against Fiorentina, and we wouldn't have wanted to have it any other way.