Gianluigi Buffon has entered his 22nd season in professional football and, as a result, commands a huge amount of respect not just from his teammates and fellow pros, but also from fans of the sport across the world.
The 38-year-old is one of the few universally respected individuals in the game and relishes the responsibility that comes with his status.
All in all, he just seems like a top bloke.
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Buffon made his 162nd appearance for the Italian national team on Thursday evening at the Stadio Comunale San Nicola but felt the need to intervene after some of the Italian fans inside the Bari-based stadium began to whistle La Marseillaise (France’s national anthem).
The veteran goalkeeper, acutely aware that only he could get away with something like this, raised his hands in the air and began to applaud. (Scroll down to watch the video).
Video: Buffon applauds La Marseillaise
Or watch the YouTube link here...
His teammates then followed suit, as did the majority of Italian supporters inside the ground.
The applause subsequently drowned out the jeers.
Buffon praised by Gianni Infantino
It was a moment of quick-thinking from Buffon, which earned him the respect of the French nation and the FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
“I was very impressed by the fact that when some idiots started to whistle the [French] anthem, Buffon started clapping, his team joined in and so did the entire stadium,” Infantino told L’Equipe, per Football Italia.
“It was a great win for civilisation over ignorance, and I’d like to compliment Buffon. He’s an example for everyone.”
France beat Italy 3-1
Despite his generous intervention, France’s players didn’t do Buffon any favours during the match itself.
Anthony Martial slotted past the Juventus goalkeeper in the 17th minute before Graziano Pelle equalised soon after, but goals either side of half-time from Olivier Giroud and Layvin Kurzawa secured an impressive 3-1 victory for Les Bleus.
Buffon and co. will hope to return to winning ways, and kick off their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign in the best possible manner, by securing all three points against Israel on Monday night.
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