Buffon's family affair: how many father-son duos has Gigi shared a pitch with?
Buffon & the subs
You’d think that would be it. Buffon has played with or against six pairs of fathers and sons in his career – that’s loads. But what if we told you it could so easily have been… 13?
That’s right: for another seven dads-and-lads combos have come achingly close to having an appearance against Buffon in common as well as their DNA.
You may yourself have wondered if Peter and Kasper Schmeichel would be another pairing, as they’re both the right age to have played in a game with Buffon, and Italy have faced Denmark five times in the past 20 years. Alas, while the elder keepers went head-to-head twice in 1999, Kasper (middle name: Peter) won the first of his 43 Denmark caps just four days after his country’s most recent meeting with Italy, in 2013, sitting on the bench for the duration of that 2-2 draw.
The other six pairs also come under the bracket of ‘one-played-against-Buffon-but-the-other-stayed-on-the-bench’ (catchy, you’ll agree). We were disappointed to learn Ianis Hagi wasn’t given a cameo when Fiorentina – them again – named the teenage prodigy as a substitute against Juventus twice in 2016/17, because the legendary Gheorghe Hagi faced Buffon in a 1997 Champions League tie between Galatasaray and Parma.
Remember Luca Marchegiani? You know, the Lazio and Italy goalkeeper of the 1990s. He and Buffon were at opposite ends of the pitch a number of times. Gabriele Marchegiani, Luca’s goalkeeping offspring, is only 22 so there’s still time, but he was stuck on the bench when SPAL faced Juventus last season. He’s now with Gubbio, who we believe was a one-off Simpsons character.
The sons keep letting us down – well, the managers handcuffing them to the bench do, anyway. Young forward Nicholas Pierini was an unused substitute when Sassuolo were thumped 7-0 by Juventus last season, 21 years after Alessandro Pierini, his centre-back father, made the first of 13 appearances against Buffon. Simone Pasa was another latent sub, this time when Inter lost to Juve in 2013, although his father, Daniel Pasa, got 90 minutes for Genoa in a 1998 cup game against Parma. And Federico Di Francesco was twice in the same matchday squad as the glovesman, once as an 18-year-old with Pescara and once when he was 23 and playing for Bologna; his father is one Eusebio Di Francesco, who faced Buffon many a time and now manages Roma.
This quirk has happened the other way around, too. Cagliari’s Beniamino Abate watched his fellow goalkeeper from the bench a couple of times. You may know his son better: Ignazio Abate, Buffon’s foe on 16 occasions and somehow still at Milan.
And that’s your lot, unless you know of more – in which case, let us know. We’d love to believe the PSG shot-stopper has faced yet another father-son duo. Until then, we have but one conclusion: Gianluigi Buffon is really old.