Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi is “very sorry” for Gianluigi Buffon, after Italy missed out on the World Cup.
The Azzurri were beaten 1-0 by aggregate by Sweden in the play-offs, meaning they’ll miss out for the first time in 60 years.
Buffon had planned to play in the tournament before hanging up his gloves, but it now appears the play-off second leg was his final match for his country.
“It really is a shame,” Xavi told Premium Sport.
“A World Cup without Italy is a very strange and rare thing, because it hasn’t happened for so many years, and it’s a national team which has often won the competition.
“From a personal point of view I’m very sorry for Buffon, because he’s a real and proper legend, an example for all athletes and not just those who play football.
“It’s really sad that a personality like the will end his career with the national team in that way, but that’s football.”