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Gigi Buffon: Schumacher Redux?

Written By Justin on Thursday, September 13, 2007 | 10:14:00 AM

Everyone remembers Toni Schumacher's dreadful assault on French defender Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup. Schumacher was quite rightly universally vilified and shamed. Had his assault - I can't even call it a foul, because somehow the ref never gave one - been in, say, a preseason friendly, rather than a World Cup semifinal, then Schumacher might have gone through his career considered nothing more than a very good, if eccentric, keeper.

Italy's World Cup-winning keeper Gianluigi Buffon is today considered, along with Petr Cech, one of the two best keepers in the world. He is also a well-spoken, thoughtful man, perhaps a touch eccentric. But he got away with a challenge every bit as cynical and vicious as Schumacher's, because it happened in a preseason friendly with Newcastle. Buffon's a brilliant keeper, but it troubles me that he escaped this incident with so little stain. The least we can now do is condemn him here, so repeat after me: up yours, Gigi Buffon.