A great English historian (AJP Taylor?) once said that Giusseppe Garibaldi was the only wholly admirable figure in history. His compatriot Gianluigi Buffon is giving him a run for his money in that department.
(*That's if you leave out the odd fascist symbol faux-pas, but that's nearly par for the course in Italian football.) There has never been a better goalkeeper in the history of the game. He has played in five World Cups, winning one of them. He recently broke the record for longest consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in Serie A.
He's done a nice line in magnanimous gestures recently too, being vocal in his congratulations of Claudio Ranieri towards the end of last season and approaching Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill so soon after Ireland's 1-0 win in Lille.
Italy played France in a friendly in Bari last night. The French national anthem was nearly drowned out by the boos of the southern Italian crowd.
Buffon interrupted the boos by getting the crowd to clap instead. By the end of the anthem, La Marseilles was being accompanied not by a soundtrack of boos by a burst of polite clapping.
It is what's officially known in the business as a "classy gesture".
Buffon, held! Gefluit tijdens het Franse volkslied > Buffon applaudisseert > teamgenoten doen mee > gefluit stopt! pic.twitter.com/mgTtxwnZE8
— FCUpdate.nl (@FCUpdate_nl) September 2, 2016
France ended up winning the game 3-1, by the way. Martial, Giroud and Kurzawa scored with Pelle replying for Italy. Buffon was taken off at half-time.
Not sure what it proves as the Italians have a long and distinguished history of not bothering their holes in friendlies.