Buffon's feats have overshadowed Van der Sar's forgotten Juventus spell

The Dutchman was their first non-Italian keeper as Team 33's Raf Diallo looks back on The World Is A Ball

Edwin van der Sar, Juventus,

Edwin van der Sar at Juventus in 2000 (Picture by: Tony Marshall / EMPICS Sport)

If there's one goalkeeper who has spread a sense of assurance in between two goal posts for so long, it has to be Gianluigi Buffon.

More than two decades on from his debut as a professional at FC Parma, the 2006 World Cup winner continues to set clean sheets records at the age of 38 and has stated that he has every intention of not only keeping goal at Euro 2016 but also going to World Cup 2018 in Russia when he will be 40.

Juventus have got far more than full recompense from their investment in a player they signed for a then record €53 million for a goalkeeper in 2001.

His success at Juve almost makes you completely forget that Buffon was replacing another legendary keeper from the last two decades.

Manchester United's 2008 Champions League-winning goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is one of the great goalkeepers from modern times as a player who could potentially feature among the Top 20 players in his position. That of course is a subject of debate for another time.

But the 45-year-old made fewer appearances for Juventus than he did in his 130-cap international career for the Netherlands.

This video (all in Italian) includes ex-Juve midfielder current Italy manager Antonio Conte being asked his opinion of Van der Sar: 

Having signed for the Turin giants in 1999, his two years there saw him make 88 appearances for Juve in a relatively lean period for the club.

For those of us who remember the mid-90s well, Juventus were fearsome Champions League final regulars, winning the competition once in 1996 and Serie A in 1995, 1997 and 1998.

However change came in 1999 when Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning manager Marcelo Lippi stepped aside and another coaching great in Carlo Ancelotti - in a more formative point in his pre-Milan career - stepped in to lead the team.

It was a period which saw Juventus not win a trophy again until 2002 when they reclaimed Serie A again.

That is the team Van der Sar arrived at as a 1995 Champions League-winning goalkeeper from Ajax, who he had joined from hometown club VV Noordwijk as a 20-year-old when Louis van Gaal signed him.

Significantly he became Juventus' first non-Italian goalkeeper, although it would only be a brief spell.

He was unfortunate not to win the league in his first season which saw him concede just 20 goals, the fewest of any team that season as Lazio pipped Juve by a point as the Bianconeri lost to Perugia on the final day.

Van der Sar's final season with the club again saw he and his team-mates finish second again, this time to Lazio's City rivals Roma, and again they had the best defensive record in the division.

But one moment would taint him as he fumbled a shot from Roma's Hidetoshi Nakata into Vincenzo Montella's path in a crucial title-deciding match which saw Juventus fail to beat the Giallorossi (the fumble for the Montella goal is 5 minutes into this video).

And when Lippi returned in 2001 as Juventus sought to make changes, Van der Sar was left in a difficult position as the club spent big money to bring Buffon from Parma.

Unwilling to be a No 2 to the Italian, he would leave for Fulham where he would resurrect his career, peaking again with Man United and the Dutch national side.

I mentioned his hometown club VV Noordwijk a little earlier. Well, like Buffon, Van der Sar was in the news again when he resigned for the Fourth Division amateur side and showed there's still life in those older arms as he saved a penalty two weeks ago.

You can read more from Raf's The World Is A Ball series every Wednesday on Newstalk.com. To find past articles, head to the Team 33 show page.