Gianluigi Buffon confirms international career is over after qualification failure
Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed his international career is over, after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Trailing by a goal after the first leg of their qualifier against Sweden in Stockholm, the Azzurri were held to a goalless draw in Milan on Monday night, meaning the four-time winners would not be in Russia next summer.
A tearful Buffon, goalkeeper during Italy's last success in Germany in 2006, apologised to the nation in a post-match interview on the San Siro pitch, confirming that the failure to qualify meant that he had now played his final international game.
“I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” he said.
The 39-year-old had made it clear last year that he intended to retire from playing after the Russian World Cup. At the time, the thought of he and Italy not being part of it had seemed unthinkable, with the country last failing to qualify for the tournament in 1958.
Buffon promised that the Italian side would return following this set back, saying that the likes of Mattia Perin (Genoa) and Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) were more than capable of replacing him as the country's new number one.
Well and truly the end of an era.