Parma have completed the signing of Goran Pandev on deadline day from Genoa, bringing another legend of Italian football to the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
The 38-year-old North Macedonian has dropped down a division hoping to boost The Crusaders‘ faint chances of pushing for promotion this term, ending his seven-year association with Genoa in the process.
The veteran of Italian football relocates to Emilia-Romagna with a very vintage feel to Giuseppe Iachini’s squad, linking up with Gianluigi Buffon, who returned to skipper his boyhood club in the summer at the age of 44.
The duo have a combined age of 82, bringing a wealth of experience to a side padded out with a number of youthful faces, not least Simon Sohm and Valentin Mihaila, who were still crawling when these two stalwarts first faced off in Serie A.
In fact, Pandev has featured in 493 Serie A games since 2003/04, bettered only by Fabio Quagliarella (515) and Samir Handanovic (537), which truly highlights the scope of the impression he’s made on top-flight Italian football.
Bolstering the ranks with a mighty Macedonian: welcome, Goran Pandev! 💪🇲🇰 #ForzaParma
— Parma Calcio 1913 (@ParmaCalcio_en) January 31, 2022
One of those contests came in early December 2004, during Pandev’s formative years at Lazio. He bagged his first Serie A goal for the Roman club a week prior vs Cagliari, before getting his second against Juventus in that festive fixture — and it was a goal of the highest quality.
Winning the ball on the edge of Juventus’ box, Pandev ghosted into the penalty area before a series of pirouettes, jinks and faints sent the illustrious trio of Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta tumbling to the ground. He then proceeded to leather it past Buffon.
That goal has been enshrined in Lazio folklore, and 18 years later the duo have now linked up once again, only this time donning the same colours.
In the hustle and bustle of transfer deadline day across Europe, this is a move that possibly won’t garner the attention that some other stories will, but it certainly brings a new element of intrigue to the second tier of Italian football, and prolongs the respective legacies of two of the game’s true greats.