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Football world pays tribute to Gianluigi Buffon after Italy retirement forced early

For the first time since 1958, Italy will not be heading to the World Cup as they suffered defeat in their playoff qualifier against Sweden.

After falling to a 1-0 loss in the first leg in Solna, the Azzurri were unable to turn around their deficit in the second leg at the San Siro on Monday night, being held to a goalless draw.

In turn, they will not be heading to Russia next summer, and that has forced Gianluigi Buffon to announce his retirement earlier than he would have liked having previously planned to hang his gloves up after next summer’s tournament.

It was a heartbreaking way for the iconic figure to go out as he was seen breaking down in his post-match interview, but he rightly got the send off that he deserved as he continued to show his class from start to finish.

While this is undoubtedly the lowest point in his Italy career and it unfortunately had to come in his last game for his country, he will of course always have the memory of winning the World Cup in Germany in 2006, but it’s clear the impact he’s made on football fans around the world as seen below.

Buffon enjoyed a 20-year international career at senior level, making 175 appearances for Italy, while Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele De Rossi also all announced their retirement with the quartet having 461 caps between them.

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