Buffon’s huge move – effectively worth around €52 million (105m lira) – remained the most expensive deal for a goalkeeper in football history until summer 2018, when Liverpool and Chelsea both splashed the cash to sign Alisson (€72.5 million) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (€80 million) respectively.
It was suggested that Ederson’s £35m switch to Manchester City in 2017 may have in fact superseded Buffon’s transfer, but the weakening of pound against euro since 2001 means that fee converted to a mere €40m.
But while goalkeepers’ transfer fees have taken much longer to catch up with those of outfielders in football’s inflated transfer market, Buffon believes spending big on a No.1 makes perfect sense – as was the case with his original record-breaking deal.
“This is a period in which the sums that teams are spending on players have become extraordinary compared to what they used to be,” the Italy legend of 176 caps tells FourFourTwo, as the cover star of our February 2019 issue.
“I think of these as very intelligent moves. If we go back to my signing at Juve, the amount of money they spent on me had every critic saying the exact same thing: ‘No, you can’t pay that much money for a goalkeeper.’
“And, you know, it’s right that those conversations happen as well. But in the end, I was at Juventus for 17 years. I think that with me, Juve made one of the best pieces of business in their history. If you look at it now, I doubt anyone could disagree with that.”
Buffon points to the similar profiles of those three aforementioned Premier League goalkeepers – all aged between 23 and 26 – in concluding that each was a logical investment regardless of their individual transfer fees.
“Ederson, Kepa and Alisson – all three of them are very young, just as I was young when I went to Juventus,” he told FFT. “So, they assure their new club of this long period of time in which they know they won’t need to get another keeper.
“I think each goalkeeper should be paid according to their value and according to what they know themselves to be worth. There are no battles going on between goalkeepers and defenders, goalkeepers and attackers, goalkeepers and midfielders.”
Read the full interview with Gianluigi Buffon in the February 2019 issue of FourFourTwo. A goalkeepers special, we also speak exclusively to Alisson, Jan Oblak, Jordan Pickford, Dino Zoff, Claudio Taffarel and Jan Tomaszewski. Plus, we hear from Helmuth Duckadam on his penalty-saving heroics for Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup Final, meet 92-year-old River Plate legend and goalkeeping pioneer Amadeo Carrizo, and trawl the history books to find the maddest of the mad.