Buffon: Italy great announces international retirement

ITALY

Buffon: Italy great announces international retirement

Buffon: Italy great announces international retirement

MARCO BERTORELLO

AFP

"I'm sorry my last official game for Italy is this failure to qualify," said an emotional Gianluigi Buffon after the Azzurri's World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden.

Legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from international football in a tearful interview after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup on Monday night.

The four-time winners will be absent from the finals for the first time since 1958 after a second-leg goalless draw with Sweden saw the Scandinavians clinch a 1-0 aggregate victory in the countries' qualification play-off tie.

Speaking post-match, Buffon - who won 175 caps and was part of the team that lifted the 2006 World Cup - said he was sorry "for all of Italian football".

Buffon's interview:

Regret: "I'm not sorry for myself but for all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level."

Failure to find the net: "We knew it would be a difficult game. We lacked the clarity in attack to be able to score goals. When things don't turn out well, it means there are things you've done wrong."

International retirement: "We have [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, Matia Perrin and other top goalkeepers. I'm sorry that my last official game for Italy is this failure to qualify."

Italy coach Gian Pero Ventura: "He bears the same amount of responsibility as we all do for not qualifying for the World Cup. We're all responsible. We win together and we lose together."

Goodbye: "A big hug for everyone, particularly those who have shared this wonderful journey with me."

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