A dream that hasn't yet finished - Buffon celebrates 20 years since Italy debut
Gianluigi Buffon sent a message to Italy fans on the 20th anniversary of his debut for the national team, saying his international career "hasn't yet finished".
The Juventus star first played for the Azzurri on 29 October 1997, when he came on as a first-half substitute in the first leg of a World Cup qualifier against Russia.
An injury to first-choice goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca prompted the introduction of a 19-year-old Buffon, then playing his club football at Parma, after half an hour in driving snow, and the young substitute gave a performance beyond his years.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with future Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro the only player to beat Buffon on the day when he scored an own goal, and it marked the beginning of a long and illustrious international career.
Two decades later, Buffon has 173 caps and a World Cup winner's medal to his name, and he expressed his gratitude for having had such a long career at the top in a message on his Twitter feed.
He said: "20 years ago a dream that hasn't yet finished began. I'm fortunate to have lived it and it's been a privilege. Thanks to all!"