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Gianluigi Buffon.

Gigi Buffon's tweet about playing in midfield for Croatia at the 2018 WC goes viral

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Looking to secure their spot in the last 16, Juventus are set to host Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is expected to return to the starting XI after being left out of Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Sampdoria.

The 39-year-old was left out by Max Allegri because of the disappointment suffered during the international break.

Italy failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958, losing to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate in a play-off match.

Buffon, who won the esteemed tournament with Italy in 2006, was in tears in his post-match interview as he announced his retirement from international football.

Rakitic's beautiful message for Buffon

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic qualified for the World Cup with Croatia after beating Greece 4-1 in their two-legged play-off match.

“I can’t teach Buffon anything," Rakitic told reporters ahead of their Champions League meeting.

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-PRESSER

"Everything he has given football is huge and it’s a pleasure to compete against him tomorrow. I would give up my place in the World Cup for him; when you see him crying, you want to cry too. A player like him cannot say goodbye like that.”

Buffon responds on Twitter

The legendary 39-year-old goalkeeper was touched by Rakitic's kind words and responded with a tweet which quickly went viral.

"Dear Ivan Rakitic, as a goalkeeper I might still play but playing for Croatia as a midfielder in your place might not be a great idea: I am saying it for your good sake. Joking apart, your words have been a great gift. Thanks to you and Jordi Alba: my jersey is waiting for you."

In comments to Tuttosport, Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba heaped praise on Buffon and admitted his desire to swap shirts at full-time.

"Buffon's the best goalkeeper in history," said Alba. "I would love to change shirts with him and add it to my collection. For me it's a crime that Buffon and Italy aren't at the World Cup."

The 28-year-old Spanish international, who faced Buffon in the World Cup qualifiers, had his wish granted by the veteran Italian goalkeeper on social media.

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Topics:
Juventus
Barcelona
Italy Football
Ivan Rakitic
Football
Gianluigi Buffon

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