Buffon takes 648th Italian top flight bow

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has notched up his 648th appearance in the Italian top flight.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has notched up his 648th appearance in the Italian top flight.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has set the outright Italian Serie A record with his 648th appearance in Italy's top flight.

The Turin derby game against Torino on Saturday moved the 42-year-old Buffon one ahead of AC Milan great Paolo Maldini, who set the record in 2009.

It was Buffon's 915th club match as a professional, extending his record for an Italian player.

The vast majority of those matches have come for Juventus. Buffon joined the Bianconeri in 2001 after starting his career with Parma and swiftly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

He was expected to retire at the end of the 2017-18 season but instead made a surprise move to Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the French league to add to his multiple titles.

He caused even more of a stir when he rejoined Juventus the following year.

Buffon recently extended his contract for another season.

He could add to his impressive medal collection with a 10th Serie A title with Juventus, who have a four-point advantage at the top of the table.

Two other titles were stripped from the club due to the Calciopoli scandal. Also as punishment, Juventus was relegated to Serie B but Buffon stayed and helped them win the second division and bounce straight back up.

Buffon made 176 appearances for Italy - a European record - and was voted Serie A's goalkeeper of the year 12 times.

He also won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and the UEFA Cup with Parma in 1999.

One of the few trophies missing from Buffon's glittering collection is the Champions League. He lost three finals in that competition with Juventus.

Australian Associated Press