A prestigious “Golden Foot” was awarded to the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has been playing for Juventus for the past 15 years. Normally awarded to goal scoring strikers, Buffon is the first goalkeeper to have been honoured with this prize.
Over his 21-year career, “Gigi” has played 161 matches for the “Azzuri,” the national team of Italy. More than once he has been awarded the best goalkeeper title. In 2001, Buffon became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. Back then, Turin football club paid 32 million pounds for his transfer from “Parma” to “Juventus”. In 2009, Buffon was named the best goalkeeper in the football history from 1987 to 2009.
The winner of the award is chosen by an online poll and the 38-year-old Italian left his talented rivals in the dust. The other champions on the list included Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Alison Cavani, Iker Casillas and other international football stars. They were all hoping for the right to leave their footprints on the famous Champion’s Promenade in Monaco, but Buffon was voted the winner.
The solemn award ceremony took place at the Monaco Yacht Club. The Italian footballer received the annual prize from the hands of Prince Albert II. In addition, another four athletes were recognised in “Football Legend” nomination: a Portuguese footballer Deco, Spanish Carles Puyol, a German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and a Dutch player Frank de Boer. They also got to leave their mark on the alley of football glory in Monaco.
As we wrote earlier, only the most honoured players with many awards can become a “Football Legend”. It would be unfair to award just one prize: different clubs in each country feature many good players. As a rule, a special commission recognises football veterans who have long finished their football career.
It must be said that the Golden Foot, established in 2003, was previously awarded to the Ukrainian player Pavel Nedved, Ronaldo, Francesco Totti, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Last year, the Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto’o who has been nominated several times, finally won the award. Last year’s Football Legends of 2015 were Gheorghe Hagi (Romania), Daniel Passarella (Argentina), David Trezeguet (France), and Rinat Dasaev (Russia).