Buffon, two others hang up Italian boots, gloves

Milan: Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon confirmed Monday that his international career had ended after the four-time champions failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

Buffon, 39, played his 175th and final game for Italy in the 0-0 second leg draw with Sweden. It brought to an end a 20-year international career including winning the World Cup in 2006.

“I’m not sorry for myself but all of Italian football,” Buffon told Italian broadcaster ‘Rai’ after the game. “We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There’s regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.

“Blame is shared equally between everyone. There cannot be scapegoats. Win together, lose together. We have pride, strength and we are stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we’ve always done. I am leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for themselves. Hugs to everyone, especially those I’ve shared this wonderful journey with,” added the legendary shot-stopper.

Andrea Barzagli and 34-year-old midfielder Daniele de Rossi, the other two members of Italy’s squad Monday who lifted the 2006 World Cup, also retired from internationals in the aftermath of the shock defeat.

“It’s the biggest disappointment of my life from a sporting point of view… I can’t find my words,” said 36- year-old defender Barzagli.

Midfielder De Rossi, who won 117 caps, said: “To think that I took off this jersey for the last time, it hurts. After the match, there was a funeral-like atmosphere.”

Buffon named AC Milan’s 18-year-old keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma set to take the international No.1 shirt. “I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including Donnarumma and (Genoa keeper) Mattia Perin,” Buffon informed.



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