Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon, Goalkeeper, one of only eighteen players to have made at least 1,000 professional career appearances; with 168 international caps, Buffon is also the most capped player in the history of the Italian national team, the joint fifth-most capped male international footballer of all time, alongside Iván Hurtado, and the most capped European international player ever. He is widely regarded by players, pundits and managers to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and, by some, to be the greatest ever. Buffon is known for his “outstanding shot-stopping” and for being “a vocal organiser of the defence and a key dressing room personality”. He is currently the most expensive goalkeeper in history, following his €53 million transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001. Buffon holds the record for the most clean sheets in Serie A, and with the Italy national team; he also holds the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history: over 12 league matches, he went unbeaten for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015–16 season, as well as having achieved the most consecutive clean sheets (10) in Serie A in that same season.
Thierry Henry, Forward, Henry has received many plaudits and awards in his football career. He was runner-up for the 2003 and 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year awards; in those two seasons, he also won back-to-back PFA Players’ Player of the Year titles. Henry is the only player ever to have won the FWA Footballer of the Year three times (2003, 2004, 2006), and the French Player of the Year on a record four occasions. Henry was voted into the Premier League Overseas Team of the Decade in the 10 Seasons Awards poll in 2003, and in 2004 he was named by football legend Pelé on the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
In terms of goal-scoring awards, Henry was the European Golden Boot winner in 2004 and 2005 (sharing it with Villarreal’s Diego Forlán in 2005). Henry was also the top goalscorer in the Premier League for a record four seasons (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006). In 2006, he became the first player to score more than 20 goals in the league for five consecutive seasons (2002 to 2006). With 175, Henry is currently fifth in the list of all-time Premier League goalscorers, behind Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard. All of his Premier League goals were for Arsenal, giving him the record for most goals in the competition for one club, until it was broken by Rooney in 2016. France’s all-time record goalscorer was, in his prime in the mid 2000s, regarded by many coaches, footballers and journalists as one of the best players in the world. In November 2007, he was ranked 33rd on the Association of Football Statisticians’ compendium for “Greatest Ever Footballers."
Arsenal fans honoured their former player in 2008, declaring Henry the greatest Arsenal player. In two other 2008 surveys, Henry emerged as the favourite Premier League player of all time among 32,000 people surveyed in the Barclays 2008 Global Fan Report. In 2009, Henry was voted the best Premier League player of the 2000s. Arsenal fan and The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey mentions Henry in the tribute song "Highbury Highs”, which he performed at Arsenal’s last ever game at Highbury on 7 May 2006. On 10 December 2011, Arsenal unveiled a bronze statue of Henry at the Emirates Stadium as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, known as Kaká, Attacking Midfielder, In 2003, he joined Italian club Milan for a fee of €8.5 million. While at Milan, Kaká won a Serie A title and the UEFA Champions League, and in 2007 he received the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or awards. After four seasons in Spain playing for Real Madrid, he returned to Milan for a season in 2013, scoring his 100th goal for the club.