PA Sport

Gianluigi Buffon one of three Italy retirements but Ventura future unclear

Gianluigi Buffon one of three Italy retirements but Ventura future unclear
By PA Sport

14/11/2017 at 09:38Updated 14/11/2017 at 09:50

Gianluigi Buffon was one of several star names to call time on their international careers following Italy's World Cup play-off failure but the future of Azzurri coach Giampiero Ventura remains in the air .

Gianluigi Buffon was one of several star names to call time on their international careers following Italy's World Cup play-off failure but the future of Azzurri coach Giampiero Ventura remains in the air .

Captain Buffon brought the curtain down on his 175-cap career after Monday's 0-0 draw with Sweden in Milan, a result which meant the four-time world champions would be absent from next year's finals after losing the qualifying play-off 1-0 on aggregate.

It is the first time since 1958 that an Italian team has not qualified for a World Cup and the fall-out has reverberated around the game, with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport hailing the arrival of the ''apocalypse''.

Buffon, 39, was not the only Italy veteran to quit the national team following Monday's game, with his Juventus team-mate Andrea Barzagli and Roma stalwart Daniele De Rossi following suit.

Giorgio Chiellini could also decided to pack it in - meaning Italy would lose a combined 461 caps from those four players - but the future of coach Ventura is unclear.

The 69-year-old, who is under contract until 2020, apologised after the match, but stopped short of resigning.

He said in a post-match press conference he arrived for well over an hour after full-time: " At this moment I can only apologise to the Italians, not for the will or effort but for the result which as I know is the main thing.

"I arrived late (for the press conference) because I wanted to say goodbye to the players one by one. Have I resigned? No, because I haven't even spoken with the (Italian Football Federation) president.

"There's an infinite number of things to evaluate, we'll speak with the Federation, we'll evaluate the situation."

While Ventura's ongoing role with Italy remains uncertain, it is the end for Buffon, De Rossi and Barzagli - all members of the 2006 World Cup-winning squad.

A tearful Buffon, who had already decided to hang up his gloves after Russia 2018, said in quotes reported by www.figc.it: "I'm not sorry for myself but all of the Italian football movement.

"We failed with our aim which could have also been really important on a social level. This is the only regret that I have, even if my last competitive game coincides with failure to qualify for the World Cup."

De Rossi, 34, said: "It's a black moment for Italian football and a really dark one for us players who were a part of the past two years."

The 36-year-old Barzagli said: "I think this is the biggest disappointment of my life in football."

Chiellini is four games away from bringing up 100 caps for Italy, but it remains to be seen if the 33-year-old Juventus defender will carry on.

He said: "I don't know if Italy will go again with Chiellini, the team will start again with a lot of guys born in the 1990s. In the end, we deserved to go out. I don't cling to good or bad luck, we gave all that we had but it wasn't enough."

0
0