Gianluigi Buffon announced he has retired from international football amid tears 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.