A flood of touching tributes was directed at Gianluigi Buffon on Twitter after his decision to retire from international football.
Buffon suffered a heartbreaking end to his international career as Italy lost on aggregate to Sweden following a 0-0 draw at San Siro yesterday, failing to qualify for next year's World Cup for the first time since 1958.
The world’s best, among which other sports' legends, were quick to express their support and praise for the long-serving keeper.
Here is what they said:
Tough opponent, great character & idol for every player. Respect for your international career 🇮🇹👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/fagr6pCbbs— Franck Ribéry () November 13, 2017
Eres una LEYENDA el fútbol y la gente te echará de menos en Rusia pero todavía te quedan por levantar muchas copas!! Orgulloso de haberte conocido Gigi. ❤️💙👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/9Hnto70iZ0— Álvaro Morata () November 14, 2017
La classe c’est caaaa!!! Grande Gigi 🙌🏾 https://t.co/gpmjLNdMGm— Didier Drogba () November 14, 2017
El Mundial te echará de menos, . ¡Ánimo, amigo! Eres muy grande. pic.twitter.com/pN2OaRY6TU— Sergio Ramos () November 13, 2017
No me gusta nada verte así! Quiero verte como hasta ahora, como lo que sigues siendo para muchos: una LEYENDA. Orgulloso de conocerte y orgulloso de haberme enfrentado a ti muchas veces. Aún nos tienes que deleitar en el fútbol amigo! #1 pic.twitter.com/gs9o0irCqo— Iker Casillas () November 13, 2017
Buffon's retirement comes just three months before he turns 40 in January, with Danieli De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli also putting an end to their international careers. He won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, beating France in the final, and donned the silver medal in the UEFA European Championship six years later.
He made his debut for Italy in 1997 and played in five World Cups - 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.