The last time Gianluigi Buffon was in the Turin area for an official Juventus sanctioned event, it was Andrea Barzagli’s final match with the club and then subsequent visit to the Juventus Museum to see his former teammate’s jersey back encased in glass for good.
That was before Thursday morning.
And this wasn’t to watch from the stands and then get some hugs and such afterward.
With fresh white shirt, some slick red pants, a fresh haircut and a clean-shaven face, Buffon was back in Turin to complete some business. You know, some returning to the club that adores him kind of business.
Just as the Italian media had reported the day before, Buffon rolled into J Medical in Turin for his medical exam in anticipation of his expected return to Juventus for one last ride in the 2019-20 season. Following his medical, Buffon is expected to put pen to paper on a one-year contract worth a reported €1.5 million (and maybe some bonuses) as he takes over as the backup goalkeeper to Wojciech Szczesny.
The last time Buffon was a Juventus player, this day didn’t seem like it was possible to many — if any — Juventus supporters. It was the end of an era between the sticks, with Buffon getting the farewell players can only dream of during Juve’s rainy win over Hellas Verona to end the 2017-18 season.
But just one season at Paris Saint-Germain later, and Buffon is a free agent and about to return to the club that he spent nearly two decades at, winning just about everything outside of the Champions League in the process.
So here we are again, old friend. And that’s not just because he’s 41 years old and will be sporting a good amount of gray hairs whenever he grows out his beard a little bit. (It’s bound to happen, I can confirm.) But to see Buffon, a club legend of all club legends, walk through the J Medical doors again like he never left ... well, that just brings a smile to my face like few things can right now.
Welcome back, buddy.