Its hard to believe that the Azzurri would not be going to Russia next year, but the 2006 World Cup winners miss out on their first World Cup in almost 60 years. The resilient Sweden held Italy to a goalless draw at the San Siro to progress 1-0 on aggregate. While it was Italy who dominated the proceedings, they just couldn’t manage the goal they were craving for. As Italy miss the flight to Russia, Captain and Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from international football. The veteran who had represented Italy in 5 World cups so far could not make it to the 6th one. It was expected that Buffon would retire at the end of the World Cup next year, the legend’s stay at the international circuit was cut short as the Scandinavian side book their spot for the first World Cup since 2006.
While Buffon ended his final match for the Azzurri in tears, the football fraternity came across divisions to honour the true legend of the game. Here is how Twitter reacted to the match and Buffon’s retirement.
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.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 13, 2017
While many would agree that Buffon deserved a better farewell, tears pouring down at the San Siro for the long-serving Italian.
Buffon deserved a fairytale finish.
He was an absolute boss. ⚽️🇮🇹
— Taylor Regan (@taylorreegs) November 14, 2017
Buffon broke down after the match and the legend apologized to the San Siro and the Italians all around for being unable to guide his side to yet another World Cup.
🎙 | #Buffon: "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." #ItalySweden 🇮🇹🇸🇪
— Italy (@azzurri) November 13, 2017
Buffon in tears, apologizes to the Italian people. Man, I'm going to miss this guy. https://t.co/rxaQAoiKtz
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 14, 2017
His club Juventus joined others on the social media to bid an unexpected farewell for Gigi, the rivals also joined to grace the Superman of Italian football.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 13, 2017
— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) November 14, 2017
While the San Siro booed at the Sweden national anthem, Buffon pulled off a class act by honouring their national anthem clapping throughout. A reason why we love Gigi! An absolute legend.
— BarDown (@BarDown) November 14, 2017
It is hard for a generation to see a World Cup without Italy and Italy without Buffon. Whilst Buffon bids adieu to international football, a universe cries behind him.
Thank you for everything you did for this team. For playing every game with a giant heart. You’ll be missed Buffon. Irreplaceable 💙 pic.twitter.com/ao3MCm4Wfn
— Sabrina Marangoni (@sabmar12) November 14, 2017
— What's Happening (@ianswer4u) November 14, 2017
It is not only the World Cup that would miss him, but there would be a void without Gigi in the beautiful game.
Buffon confirms he has played his last match for Italy.
What a legend. 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/un7lB7quok
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 14, 2017
While Buffon is an irreplaceable legend, we would like to wish the Superman a great future ahead. He may have missed out on a World Cup, but you can’t take away anything from what he has achieved.