Gianluigi Buffon received a special visit from Cameroon legend Thomas N’Kono, ‘the man who made me become a goalkeeper!’

The special encounter happened at Parma’s training ground, where Buffon is now playing with the Serie B club.

“Childhood idols will always remain idols, even decades later,” wrote Buffon on Twitter and Instagram.

“It is always a pleasure to hug my friend Thomas N’Kono, the man who made me become a goalkeeper!”

Buffon has said many times that seeing N’Kono in goal for Cameroon during the 1990 World Cup sparked a lifelong passion inside him, prompting him to change from his original role as a forward to taking the gloves.

His adoration of N’Kono was so great that he even named his son Thomas in honour of the African football legend.

Buffon will later this month celebrate the 26th anniversary of his Serie A debut for Parma, in a 0-0 draw against Milan on November 19, 1995.

SuperGigi was only 17 years, nine months and 22 days old when making his debut, but it was above all only five years since he was inspired by the sight of N’Kono on television in the World Cup.

4 thought on “Buffon visited by ‘childhood hero’ N’Kono”
  1. Warms the heart. That Cameroon are a special piece of Italia ’90! They often seem to get overlooked in favour of more recent African sides. They were a bit undisciplined and they didn’t have the big stars that Nigeria had 4 years later, but to this day, I still struggle to think of an African side who entertained as much at a world cup and had such a flamboyant style as them? It looked like they were going to beat England for a while and not only beat them, but beat them well. We just couldn’t live with their passing and movement. T.Nkono was a real good goalkeeper for a trailblazing side. I can see how Buffon would be inspired by him.It couldn’t happen now. Their players would be better known and at bigger clubs. But that opening day win over Argentina was a massive shock back then, on the scale of North Korea beating Italy in ’66 or the USA beating England in 1950. Diego doing kick-ups with his shoulder prior to kick-off, only to be beaten by the indomitable Lions at the San Siro!

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