Gianluigi Buffon has retired after Italy failed to reach the World Cup 2018





A tearful Gianluigi Buffon has retired from international football after Italy failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958, declaring: “I am sorry for all of Italian football.”

The veteran 39-year-old goalkeeper has made 175 appearances for his national side, having made his debut in October 1997.

But despite keeping a clean sheet in the second-leg of his country’s goalless draw with Sweden at the San Siro, he was powerless to prevent Italy losing 1-0 on aggregate and failing to reach the World Cup for the first time in 60-years.

Buffon had announced previously he intended to end his international career after Russia 2018 and confirmed he would not be representing his country again in an emotional post-match interview.

“I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” he said in an emotional post-match interview.

“We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.”

“There is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet.

“I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including Gigio Donnarumma and Mattia Perin. I want to give a hug to Chiello, Barza, Leo and Lele, who I had almost 10 years alongside. I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn’t enough, I hope that we gave them something.

“In football you win as a group, you lose as a group, you divide the credit and the blame. The coach is part of this entire group.”

Shortly after the interview, he made his position even clearer on social media.

In tweets from the national team’s official account, he said: “We are proud, we are strong, we are stubborn. We will pick ourselves up as we have always done.

“I am leaving a national team set-up that will know how to pick itself up again.

“Best wishes to everybody, and especially to those with whom I have shared this beautiful journey.”

Italy, who last failed to qualify in 1958, have won the World Cup four times, most recently in 2006.

Italy vs Sweden on 13.11.2017

Italy vs Sweden on 13.11.2017

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