Gianluigi Buffon had to fight back the tears as he brought the curtain down on a glittering international career on Monday night.
And he could be joined by Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini in calling it a day from the Italian national side after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Italy captain confirmed he had worn the Azzurri shirt for the final time after the four-time World Cup winners were beaten by Sweden.
Gian Piero Ventura’s side lost 1-0 over two legs in a play-off against Sweden, unable to overturn the one-goal deficit at the San Siro.
Speaking to Italian TV after the game, Buffon admitted it was sad day for the national game as they failed to reach their first World Cup finals in 60 years.
‘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.’
Buffon won 175 caps during his international career, and lifted the trophy in 2006 after victory in a penalty shoot-out over France in Berlin.
The Juventus No 1 was also in the Italy squad that lost in the final of Euro 2000 and played in the one defeated 4-0 by Spain at Euro 2012.
He added: ‘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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