Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus on Saturday before tearfully exiting after a 17-year career as storm clouds gathered during a 2-1 win over already relegated Verona.
The 2006 World Cup winner handed his captain’s armband to midfielder Claudio Marchisio then hugged several team mates and rival players as he left the field in tears to a standing ovation.
Buffon, who announced on Thursday that he would leave Juventus at the end of the season, had one save to make when he blocked a shot by Mohamed Fares in the first half.
Buffon – who had captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph this season – took his final bow midway through the second half.
Gianluigi Buffon was substituted by coach Massimiliano Allegri are 63 minutes to take an ovation before 40 000 emotional Juventus fans many with their eyes brimming with tears.
He then walked around the perimeter, shaking hands with supporters in the front row.
Buffon had said he did not want anything special for his final game.
“I want to live this day normally. I ask nothing except what I have already had, esteem, affection and respect. The rest I do not need it. As a child, I did not like birthdays and be in the centre of attention,”
He was accompanied onto the pitch at the Allianz Stadium by his three children — Louis Thomas and David Lee, with the youngest, Leopoldo, in the arms of his partner Ilaria D’Amico.
“There is only one number 1, there is only one number 1”, they sang in the tribunes before kick-off, as Buffon hugged his teammates one by one.
A giant flag with the image of the goalkeeper covered the stand.
There were messages “17 years with you. Thanks Gigi”, “Gigi Buffon, immortal hero” and “Gigi, Santo Subito”