Gigi Buffon’s tears at missing the 2018 World Cup prompted a video message from his hero: Cameroon legend Thomas N’Kono.
Italy’s failure to get past Sweden in the play-offs, losing 1-0 on aggregate, means Buffon won’t be the first man ever to take part in six different editions of the World Cup.
He shot-stopper received many messages of support, but probably none more special than from his all-time hero, the man who made him want to be a goalkeeper in 1990 and who he named his son Thomas after.
“Hello friend,” said N’Kono in a video message recorded on the Espanyol Twitter account, where he is currently a member of the staff.
“This is a difficult moment, one like so many in sport. You must smile and keep your head up high, it’s the time to get back on your feet.
“Have courage and strength, for you will always be a legend.”