Football

Gianluigi Buffon.

Gary Lineker's posted a brilliant tweet after Gianluigi Buffon's Italy career finished

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After drawing the second leg of their World Cup qualification playoff with Sweden 0-0, Italy will not be at the World Cup in Russia next summer.

While the Azzurri missing out on their first World Cup finals since 1958 is a big story in itself, the fact that Gianluigi Buffon won't be there is perhaps even bigger.

The 39-year-old amassed 175 caps for Italy and is commonly regarded as one of, if not the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.

But now his international career is finished along with Italy's World Cup hopes.

The Juventus stopper was seen applauding the Swedish national anthem before the game when Italy's supporters choose to boo it.

Then, when Italy realised their dreams were dashed in the San Siro, instead of crashing to the floor like a lot of his teammates, the legendary 'keeper made a point of congratulating the Swedish players.

A true class act, we're sure you'll agree. One man who certainly thinks so is Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.

Lineker tweeted after Italy's defeat: "It appears Gianluigi Buffon has played his final game for Italy. He will be much missed. A mountain of a man. A Giant of a goalkeeper. A credit to his sport."

It's hard to argue with Lineker's words - we couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Speaking after the game, Buffon profusely apologised to the Italian public.

An emotional Buffon said: "I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.

Italy v Sweden - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg

"Those who've played know how hard these matches are. We weren't able to express ourselves at our best. We lacked the composure to score. Play-offs are decided by episodes and they went against us but you can understand that when you're at fault.

"We have pride, strength and we're stubborn. We know how to get back up again as we've always done. I'm leaving an Italy side that will know how to speak for itself. Hugs to everyone, especially those I've shared this wonderful journey with.

"Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can't be scapegoats. Win together, lose together."

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Topics:
Juventus
Italy Football
Serie A
Francesco Totti
Football
Gianluigi Buffon
World Cup

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