It often takes a special strike to beat Gianluigi Buffon - and that’s precisely what Tal Ben Haim produced during Monday night’s 2018 World Cup qualifier between Israel and Italy.
The Maccabi Tel Aviv winger beat the legendary Italian goalkeeper with an exquisite chip from the edge of the penalty area and his celebration said it all.
Despite embarrassing the Juventus star, Ben Haim approached Buffon and asked for his shirt after the match, and the Israeli could never have guessed how the World Cup winner would respond.
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Italy eventually won the match 3-1 thanks to goals from Graziano Pelle, Antonio Candreva and Ciro Immobile, which must have improved Buffon’s mood.
But the 38-year-old showed, yet again, what an all-round top guy he is with his response to Bel Haim’s question.
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Buffon's response to Ben Haim's request
According to the official Match of the Day magazine, Football Italia and others on Twitter, Buffon replied that he ought to be the one asking to swap shirts due to Ben Haim’s stunning goal.
Watch the goal here…
Buffon: An all-round top guy
Buffon also made headlines last week after stepping in to stop Italian fans from whistling France’s national anthem.
In order to drown out the whistles and jeers, the veteran goalkeeper raised his hands above his head and began to applaud.
It worked to perfection.
He was subsequently praised by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who told reporters: “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.
“It was a great win for civilisation over ignorance, and I’d like to compliment Buffon. He’s an example for everyone.”
Buffon will be with us until at least 2018
It’ll be a huge shame for football when Buffon, who made his 163rd appearance for the Azzurri this week, hangs up his gloves.
But the good news is that he’ll be with us all until at least 2018 after signing a new two-year contract with Juve back in May.
“I’m proud of this further act of trust that the club and the world of Juve have placed in me,” Buffon was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “I think everyone knows my history with Juventus, I hope it will end in the best way and with more successes.
“The last time I was here to celebrate a renewal it was with the President [Andrea Agnelli] and [Giorgio] Chiellini, today I'm with the President and Barzagli.
“I’m very proud of that, to share something so important with my teammate, because in the end I think there's a bond that unites us both on the pitch and off.”
Is Gianluigi Buffon still one of the world’s best goalkeepers? Have your say by leaving a comment below.