Gianluigi Buffon has completed his emotional return to Parma Calcio 1913 after 20 years away from Stadio Ennio Tardini and the Serie B giants unveiled the 43-year-old's signing in style with a Superman-themed video.
Crociati owner Kyle Krause sat down with CBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano to chat exclusively about Buffon's homecoming and the vision for the future under Enzo Maresca's leadership as Parma target an immediate return to the top-flight.
With Buffon now back in Emilia-Romagna, Krause was quick to recognize that this move is a dream from the very start of his time with the club coming true as it was something discussed from the very beginning.
"The day we bought Parma," the Italian-American told CBS Sports exclusively, "September last year is when this dream started. It is so logical, in a sense, to bring Gigi back -- why would you not try? So, we bought the club and started to think that it would be a great possibility. That is when it started."
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Krause admitted that his first approach to Buffon was almost in gest before it turned into a much more serious idea for both the club and the decorated player 20 years on from his departure for Juventus.
"There are a lot of great, great perks to being the president of a Serie A club," said Krause. "One of those is getting to meet greats like Gigi. After our game in Turin, I had the chance to meet him. We talked and I made the joke and we laughed.
"Again, maybe that is the beauty of this lucky position I am in, having gone to World Cups and watching Gigi at international level. We have arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time and he is going to be ours. It feels fantastic. It is hard to believe, but also a fantastic story."
Buffon won the UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in his first spell with his formative club before moving on to Juve, then to Paris Saint-Germain, and finally back to Turin with 10 Serie titles and one FIFA World Cup just part of his trophy collection.
"It is happening because Gigi wants it to happen," Krause said of the reunion. "As you know, he has his motivations, and that motivation is what makes him a world-class athlete and what keeps him going. There was also, I think, romance in the opportunity to return home.
"I also think that he sees what we are doing with Parma and can be an important part of that. He could go anywhere and get any salary that he wanted, so it really had to be driven by him. We just presented our opportunity to him."
Not only is the lure of a Parma return strong for Buffon, there is also the appeal of being a regular starter despite his veteran status and the possibility of an Italy recall for the 2020 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
"I think there are multiple things, such as coming back to Parma, being the No. 1 and certainly the national team standpoint," Krause explained to CBS. "For that to happen, he has to stay on top of his game for two more seasons.
"With his leadership and talent, he seems to be a good choice as one of Italy's goalkeepers in Qatar for 2022. We want to do everything we can to put him in that position. It is then up to him and how he performs."
With a new man in charge in Maresca, two years younger than Buffon, Parma are looking to bring in more experienced heads to combine with the impressive array of young talent that they already have in their ranks.
"We are early in the transfer window right now," said Krause. "We will likely need some other experienced players as we need that mix of experience and youth for everybody to develop. Having that high level, experienced player brings both talent and an example.
"As a young player, you watch guys like Gigi and see how hard they work and the examples they set. They bring that experience and leadership, but we will continue to invest in young players to develop."
However, Krause admitted that being named captain is not part of the deal to bring Buffon back and that such a decision can only be made by Maresca once the former Manchester City under-23 boss' squad has been formed.
"As president, I do not think it is my role to choose the captain," Krause added to CBS Sports. "Enzo will decide. However, I can say that I think Gigi definitely has captain characteristics."
Things have not necessarily gone according to plan for Krause with Parma after the Gialloblu were relegated in last place from Serie A after a difficult 2020-21 campaign, but he is determined to put it right and restore the club to Italy's top table.
"I am Italian-American with a long-held passion for Italian football and Serie A," he said. "The fans and citizens of Parma have been almost too nice in their reception -- they have been fantastic. There is nothing but positivity and I am surprised by that after last year's results."
Paramount+ is the home for Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, with coverage set to begin at the start of the 2021-22 season in August. Buffon and Krause, together with Maresca and new managing director Javier Ribalta, will be key to Parma's chances of an immediate return from the second tier.