Gianluigi Buffon has posted an emotional open letter on Twitter to the goal he has set out to defend throughout a successful career with Juventus and Italy.
After breaking the Serie A record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal on Sunday, Buffon took to social media the following morning to explain the devotion he has shown to his goal.
“I was 12 when I turned by back on you”, he begins before going on to express his “love” and desire to “protect you”.
“I promised that I would do everything not to see your face again,” the letter continues. “Or that I would do it as little as possible.
“It was painful every time I did, turning around and realising I had disappointed you. Again. And again.”
Later, Buffon says that he has put “your welfare…ahead of my own” and that he “will keep doing it as long as my legs, my head and my heart will allow”.
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In the Turin derby at the weekend, Juventus’s rivals Torino had set out to spoil Buffon’s day but would have had to score in the opening three minutes to prevent the legendary keeper from going past the previous record of 929 minutes, set by Milan goalkeeper Sebastiano Rossi in 1994.
Torino unsurprisingly failed in their attempts to grab an early goal but Buffon’s defence was eventually breached by a 48th minute Andrea Belotti penalty, ending his clean sheet record at 974 minutes – or 16 hours and 13 minutes – a run that stretches back 11 games to mid-January.
His form has helped Juventus rise to the top of Serie A with only eight games remaining. A poor start to the season, having lost key players such as Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez, had threatened to end their dominance of the Italian league, but they now look set to retain their title once again.