Legendary footballer and Italy captain, Gianluigi Buffon has announced his retirement from international football after the Azzurri failed to qualify for 2018 World Cup on Monday night.
The Juventus goalkeeper retired alongside his fellow club teammate Andrea Barzagli, and they are most likely to be joined by Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini after they failed to reach their first World Cup finals in 60 years.
Buffon confirmed his exit after the four-time World Cup winners were beaten by Sweden in World Cup play-off.
Speaking to Italian TV after the painful game, Buffon apologised and the exit and announced his retirement.
‘I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.’
‘Those who’ve played know how hard these matches are. We weren’t able to express ourselves at our best. We lacked the composure to score.
‘Play-offs are decided by episodes and they went against us but you can understand that when you’re at fault.
‘We have pride, strength and we’re stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we’ve always done.
‘I’m leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I’ve shared this wonderful journey with.
‘Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats. Win together, lose together.’
While Juventus defender Barzagli called it ‘the biggest disappointment of my life and the ‘end of an era’.
‘In football terms, it’s the biggest disappointment of my life. The Italy side gives you unique sensations. It gives you goosebumps, creates friendships between all the Italy fans, they are finally united. It’s a real shame to end like this,’ he told Rai Sport.
‘I don’t know what we missed, all I know is we’re out of the World Cup, it’s a unique disappointment and leaving this group of lads is painful.
‘Everyone has their own feelings, but it’s really hard to accept right now.
‘At least at Euro 2016 we were crying because we came so close, but not even qualifying is a heavy blow for my whole career. With Gigi and Daniele we had the adventure in the 2006 World Cup, but also had many adventures with Giorgio.