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Gianluigi Buffon has responded to Ivan Rakitic's tribute in typically classy fashion ahead of the meeting between Juventus and Barcelona tonight.
The Croatian perfectly summed up the sadness of the footballing world at not being able to see Buffon at one final world cup after Italy lost out to Sweden in the play-offs.
Legendary goalkeeper Buffon struggled to fight back the tears at the final whistle in his last ever Azzurri game - and a good chunk of football fans wept with him, Rakitic included.
The Barcelona midfielder said he would give up his place in the World Cup if it meant Buffon could be involved at the showpiece in Russia 2018, saying, as quoted by Goal:
"I would give up my place in the World Cup for him; when you see him crying, you want to cry too. A player like him cannot say goodbye like that."
His teammate Jordi Alba also spoke glowingly of the Juventus and Italy icon, referring to him as "the best goalkeeper in history".
And Buffon was so grateful for the kind words spoken by the Barca duo - penning a post of them on social media, joking about not being cut out for taking Rakitic's place in the Croatia and promising to give his shirt away to the two players.
Dear @ivanrakitic , as a goalkeeper I might still play but playing for Croatia as a midfielder in your place might not be a great idea: I am saying it for your good sake.:joy: Joking apart, your words have been a great gift. Thanks to you and @JordiAlba: my jersey is waiting for you
- Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) November 21, 2017
Buffon You are the legend of goalkeeper in history, you are the greatest and you are the best :heart:
- فهد المحياوي (@FH_MHY) November 21, 2017
What a bloke.
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