Football’s just a game, they say.
Try telling that to Gianluigi Buffon, who had to deal with yet more heartbreak as Italy crashed out of Euro 2016 on penalties to Germany.
The 38-year-old has had an illustrious career but a European Championship will elude him unless he reverses his decision to retire after the 2018 World Cup.
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Buffon was in tears at full-time and during his post-match interview, a clear sign of how desperately the goalkeeper wanted to get his hands on the trophy.
The Juventus man was one of the Azzurri’s best players in France but came out worse in the lottery that is a penalty shootout.
He was so close to keeping out Jonas Hector’s match-winning penalty, his arms barely landing above the ball.
Buffon in tears at full-time
And in his post-game interview
Buffon would have fancied his chances of winning the tournament had Germany gone the same way as Spain, but the Azzurri are now planning a period of transition with Antonio Conte leaving for Chelsea.
The captain's quotes after the game made for pretty heart-wrenching reading.
“We did the most that we could do and it was almost enough, which means that when you are a team with values, organisation, tactics, then nothing becomes impossible,” Buffon said, per Football Italia.
“Conte complimented us, as he was proud of training a group of players and of men like us, who to the very end gave their last drop of sweat. We gave our soul to follow this dream.
“We each have our reasons to cry. We gave so much and came so close. It’s crazy to think that Germany failed to convert three penalties and it still wasn’t enough.
“I can’t say we’ve had worse. This defeat was incredibly shocking to us. We go forward, as there are other duties and other responsibilities.
“The problem two years ago was we went out with so many regrets, the feeling we made mistakes and didn’t do all we could.
“Tonight we really did try and it wasn’t enough. We have to take this home.”
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