Millennium Post

Italy's goalkeeper Buffon ends international career

Milan: Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon confirmed he was ending his international career 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 as they were beaten 1-0 on aggregate in a play-off by Sweden after a 0-0 second-leg draw at the San Siro, bringing an end to a 20-year international career that included winning the 2006 World Cup.
"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football," Buffon told Italian broadcaster Rai.
"We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes."
Andrea Barzagli and 34-year-old midfielder Daniele de Rossi, the other two members of Italy's squad on 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 made his debut for the Azzurri as a 19-year-old in a 1998 World Cup play-off victory over Russia, but his last match saw him fail in his bid to become the first man to play in six World Cups.
The Juventus captain, who has already said he will likely retire from all football at the end of this season, said Italy fans still have plenty to look forward to, with AC Milan's 18 -year-old keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma set to take the international number one shirt.
What De Rossi said to coach when he asked him to warm-up
Milan: Daniele De Rossi's frustration was there for everyone to see as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The Roma midfielder was benched for the crucial fixture alongside Lorenzo Insigne, who has been in brilliant form for Serie A leaders Napoli this season. With the game petering out, and Italy heading for a very early exit, head coach Gian Piero Ventura looked to his bench for some inspiration. De Rossi was then asked to strip off and warm up, but responded angrily to the command, instructing Italy's backing staff to put on a striker instead. TV cameras showed the Italian telling Ventura's assistant: "Why the hell should I go on?" before pointing to Insigne, suggesting he should be played instead. De Rossi played down the incident after the game. He told Rai Sport: "We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go. I just said we were near the end and had to win, so send the strikers to warm up. I pointed to Insigne too. It wasn't up to me whether it was a tactical issue. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. At the time I just thought perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead." De Rossi announced his international retirement later.
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