"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." - Gianluigi Buffon

After 176 appearances, 20 years and a clutter of international trophies, the great Gianluigi Buffon has waved goodbye to international football in the cruelest way possible and waking up on Tuesday morning knowing the Italian won't be at the World Cup next summer is still very raw.

Italy dominated in terms of possession, but they couldn't find a breakthrough in their qualifier against Sweden last night and have therefore failed in their attempts to reach the famous tournament.

The likes of Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini will not appear in next summer's competition in Russia and plenty of people reacted to the news on social media, sending their heartfelt messages to mostly the 39-year-old Juventus goalkeeper.

One message in particular has gathered almost 100k retweets in the space of a few hours.

Buffon's friend and long term admirer Iker Casillas sent an emotional goodbye message to the great man on his Twitter page and the internet loved it.

The message reads: "I don't like to see you like this. I see you how many other still see you: a legend. I'm proud to know you and proud to have faced you many times. You can still delight us in friendly football!"

We are proud to have even watched Buffon in action over the years, so we can't imagine what it had been like to have faced him.

Brilliant from the former Real Madrid man.

It was an emotional time for all of the Italian fans and players. Moments after the game had finished, Buffon broke down in tears as world football weeped alongside the great man.

This might just be the most emotional interview of all time.


Credit: RAI

A sad day for football.

The World Cup in Russia just won't be the same without Gianluigi Buffon.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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