By Alessandro De Meo-Morrow, ESPN FC WriterFor a while, Milan were in dire straits.
At the beginning of the season, their Serie A title hopes were at risk, as a midweek 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo had given Sassuolan a big lead in the race for the title.
Then, on Wednesday night, they came back from 2-0 down to beat Sassuol 3-1, with Buffon netting the winner.
The victory was a major boost for Milan, who had been without the talismanic striker for more than a year.
The news of Buffon’s return was not unexpected: Milan had been looking for a talisman for a long time, and this was the perfect time to bring in the man they had wanted since the start of the transfer window in 2013: Buffon.
“I was happy,” Buffon told reporters after the match.
“The team is good, and the team is happy to have him back.
He’s a great player and he deserves to be back.”
The Milan striker had a spell out of the team following the 2014-15 season, with the club relegated from Serie A. He scored 14 goals and assisted 14 others in all competitions for Milan last term, but had not been able to sustain a consistent run at the top.
With his future uncertain at the end of the campaign, Buffon decided to join Juventus in order to help the Serie A club recover from relegation and win the Scudetto in the Champions League.
And he was delighted to be part of the new deal, which came with the caveat that he would not be allowed to leave the club without first having his contract terminated.
“Milan is my team,” Buffo said.
“I’m happy to be a part of this team.”
The deal is a major coup for the Bianconeri, as the 27-year-old is a long-term target for the club, who have been looking to strengthen their squad in recent years.
Buffon will be reunited with coach Alessandro Nesta, who helped the Italian side to the Scadron title in the 2014/15 season.
Nesta had already worked with Buffons former team, Sampdoria, in the early 2000s, and they are not the only ones who are delighted to have the former Sassuole man back on the pitch.
“It was a fantastic night for all of us,” Milan president Silvio Berlusconi said in a statement.
“With Gianlui returning to his roots and with Buffona joining the club at the age of 34, the future is bright for the Nerazzurri.”