Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was crucial to Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph and his celebrated reflexes should one day see him remembered alongside such greats as Russia's Lev Yashin and England's Gordon Banks.
His snap save from a thundering Zinedine Zidane header late on in the 2006 World Cup final remains etched in the memory and was typical of the form that saw him voted runner-up to his captain Fabio Cannavaro for the European player of the year award that season.
His form was all the more impressive if one considers that at the time of the World Cup he was under investigation for allegedly gambling on five Juventus games (he was eventually cleared) and that the club had been relegated and stripped of the 2005 and 2006 Italian titles due to a match-fixing scandal.
"I'm proud to have been punished, because it's given Juventus a chance to be rehabilitated," he said.
"Now, we can hold our heads high and look everyone in the eye."
Buffon stuck with Juventus and helped them earn promotion the following season and in 2007, aged 30, signed a contract extension until 2012.
He is a colourful and outspoken man who claims to have taken to goalkeeping after growing sick of running, but as the nephew of former Italy and AC Milan 'keeper Lorenzo Buffon, perhaps it is all in the genes. Gigi kept a clean sheet on his league debut for Parma at 17 in a 0-0 draw with Milan in November 1995.
At Parma with Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram, Hernan Crespo and others he won the UEFA Cup and Italian Cup in 1999 before moving to Juventus for a whopping 40 million euros (in 2001.
By that time Buffon had already sat on the Italy bench at the 1998 World Cup and while he established himself under coach Dino Zoff during the Euro 2000 qualifying, he missed their run to the final with a broken thumb.
In 2002, his brilliant one-on-one ability, penalty stops and lightning reflexes helped Juventus to a domestic title, while national coach Giovanni Trapattoni made him number one during the 2002 World Cup, where they lost in controversial circumstances to South Korea in the second round.
Juve raced to a second consecutive title a year later, but despite two penalty shoot-out saves in the Champions League final, Buffon was unable to prevent AC Milan winning Europe's most prestigious prize in 2003.
At Euro 2004, Italy was eliminated without losing a game and while Juventus won the title in 2005 and 2006, the match-fixing scandal has tarnished that record.
Buffon is Italy's key man and his powerful personality has been part of the physical and moral rebuilding of Juventus, suggesting there is much, much more to come from this emotional and expressive man who is, for most, the finest 'keeper of his generation.