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Buffon: Italy great announces international retirement

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

Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Italy and Sweden, on November 13, 2017 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. / AFP PHOTO / Marco BERTORELLO

Legendary Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from international football in a tearful interview after the Azzurri's failure to qualify for the 2018 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 in Milan, 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 have failed in something which is also important on a social level."

Goal-shy: "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, [Mattia] Perin and other fantastic goalkeepers. I'm sorry that my last official game for Italy is this failure to reach the World Cup."

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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