Gianluigi Buffon and Ronaldinho have launched limited edition NFT (non-fungible token) collections this week with the Italian goalkeeper partnering with SportsIcon who have chosen Crypto.com for the drop while the Brazilian genius has paired with INBLOCKCHAIN-backed INFLUXO.
While Ronaldinho has now retired after a storied career with the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and his native Brazil, Buffon remains active and has just returned to formative club Parma Calcio 1913 in Serie B.
Both collections celebrate key moments from the two decorated individuals' careers and pay tribute to their impressive and numerous personal and professional achievements during their respective soccer careers.
"Gigi has had such an illustrious career that we can really illustrate the different parts of his life -- where he was and where he is going," Joe Conyers III, Head of NFTs at Crypto.com, told CBS Sports exclusively. "It is a fantastic time in his career and there is always a lot of buzz around him. He is just a really cool person to work with and a great player too."
My #NFT collection in partnership with @SportsIcon_ is now live! 6 amazing pieces of art that I am very proud of! 3 auction pieces, and 3 limited editions!— Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) July 30, 2021
See the collection here:https://t.co/WgOxr22KHt#NFT#NFTart#NFTcollector pic.twitter.com/GkiAGgekfJ
"Gigi was very forthcoming with some quite personal items," added Alexi Yovanoff, Co-Founder of SportsIcon, on Buffon. "That was sort of the seed for everything that we have done. He is very much into this new technology, connecting with his fans and his art. That is why there is a mix of styles in the pieces."
Buffon's collection charts his rise from Parma to Juventus and back again via a spell with PSG in France where he connected with the art scene in the capital and 2006 FIFA World Cup success with the Azzurri.
The 43-year-old has given his collection and intimate feel to add depth to the relationship that he enjoys with long-standing fans of his across the globe.
"Working with someone like Gigi, so forthcoming, has been a real privilege," Yovanoff told CBS exclusively. "For someone who does not grant many interviews, he has shared some powerful stuff."
"This is another way for players to really establish a connection with their individual fans and to build a deeper relationship than just a signed jersey or gloves," added Conyers. "It is something that deepens the connection."
Meanwhile, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho's range of one-of-a-kind masterpieces will feature on INFLUXO's own Marketplace during a live auction for collectors and dedicated fans with additional collaborations to follow.
"Growing up, collecting playing cards of your favorite players was the ultimate badge of honor," said Brazilian of his groundbreaking NFT collaboration. "NFTs open a whole new world where digital assets converge with the real world and eSports to bring fandom to life.
"NFTs are a new opportunity for athletes to participate worldwide," Ronaldinho added exclusively to CBS. "I think most importantly, in order to be successful, athletes should consider wisely the partners they choose to work with and the products they plan to develop and launch."
Ronaldinho's glittering career saw him win the UEFA Champions League as well as two La Liga titles with Barcelona and a Serie A crown while playing for AC Milan with the 2005 Ballon d'Or and his 2004 and 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year awards among his many individual accolades.
"Ronaldinho is one of the most important legends in the sports world and NFTs allow us to immortalize this legendary status through technology and entertainment," said INFLUXO founding partner and Figer Group VP Andre Figer. "We see INFLUXO as a gateway, connecting superfans to collectible digital assets and real-world experiences."
Both Ronaldinho and Buffon are two figures known the world over for their contribution to the game over the years and these collections give their fans the opportunity to own something that uniquely links them with their heroes.