After 20 years away, Gianluigi Buffon has returned to Parma - the club with whom he began his illustrious career.
The 43-year-old, who left the Ennio Tardini way back in 2001 for what was, at the time, world record fee for a goalkeeper, has gone full circle and put pen-to-paper with the Serie B outfit.
Parma were relegated from the top-flight at the end of last season but Buffon has shown his loyalty to the Gialloblu, reportedly turning down an offer from Besiktas in favour of a return to where it all began for him.
It's the transfer all the romantics wanted to see and Parma certainly did it justice with their well thought out announcement video which can be seen on social media.
Buffon only made eight appearances in the Italian top-flight last season and has been playing second fiddle to Wojciech Szczesny for some time.
The stopper has achieved pretty everything in the game aside from winning the Champions League. While he's certainly not going to manage that with the Serie B outfit, it feels like the perfect swansong for one of football and Italy's all-time greats.
The club's owner Kyle Krause discussed Buffon's return with The Athletic in an interview that was published immediately after the move became official. Here is what he had to say:
“From the moment we bought the club, you can’t not have that in your mind. I talked it over with my sons and the seed was planted. After we played in Torino in April, I had a chance to meet Gigi after the game and just made the joke to him: ‘Hey, I’d love to have you at Parma next season’. He had a typical on-brand Gigi response, laughing and smiling, all those animated gestures he does.
“From then, he chose not to stay at Juventus so you reach back out. As you know, it’s football, right. It’s WhatsApp. He wanted X amount of time to decompress post-season, so we left him alone for two weeks and then got in touch to say: OK, Gigi, do you want to do something or not? And while I don’t want to speak for him, he really had the passion to come back and loved the idea.”
If Buffon were to assist Parma in restoring their Serie A status immediately, it would be a beautiful ending to a truly wonderful career.