SPORT

Long serving goalkeeper Buffon quits as Italy misses world cup slot

Italy goalkeeper Buffon.

A tearful Gianluigi Buffon has quit international football.

Buffon, one of the most decorated goalkeeper in football history called it a day as four-time champions Italy missed out on their first World Cup finals in 60 years after a playoff defeat to Sweden on Monday.

The national team coach is also said to be considering options after the all nil dramatic draw with Sweden.

Italian press termed the event an “apocalypse” for the team, who last failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup and have taken part in the tournament since its inauguration in 1930.

“I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football, because we failed at something which also means something on a social level,” said an emotional Buffon as he confirmed his retirement.

Buffon, 39, last lifted the 2006 World Cup in Germany and was optimistic to compete in a record sixth World Cup.

Buffon had earlier announced he would retire after the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

The game played at San Siro stadium witnessed a generational shift for Italy, with Buffon and fellow 2006 veterans Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi all quitting the team, while Giorgio Chiellini also throwing in the towel.

Italy dominated possession but failed to create clear-cut chances, as Sweden secured a first appearance at the finals since 2006 courtesy of Jakob Johansson’s first-leg strike in Stockholm Sweden.

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