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Buffon retires as Italy lose World Cup ticket

Buffon retires as Italy lose World Cup ticket

Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has retired from international career after his country faced a World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden on Monday.

Four-time champion, Italy were held to a 0-0 draw in Milan after losing 1-0 at Sweden and failed to qualify for the FIFA tournament for the first time since 1958.

A teary 39-year Buffon said after the match: “It’s a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup.

“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.

Read Also: Italy fail to reach World Cup for first time in 60 years as Sweden qualify

“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,” he stated.

Buffon’s Juventus team-mate Andrea Barzagli and Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi also ended their Italy careers, while Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini is expected to join them.

 

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Ben Ugbana