Iker Casillas paid tribute to Italian counterpart Gianluigi Buffon after the Azzurri's shocking failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas has responded to Gianluigi Buffon's emotional interview on Twitter, following Italy's failure to qualify for the upcoming 2018 World Cup - and ultimately, Buffon's retirement from international football.
Despite being 39-years-old, Buffon has seen a premature end to his international career with the Italian national side.
It was intended to end in the summer, following the Russian World Cup, where the legendary stopper could have one more attempt at some silverware before hanging up his gloves for good.
However, it wasn't to be. Being part of the Azzurri side that failed to overcome Sweden in their play-off encounter, Italy have failed to qualify for the most prestigious competition in international football for the first time since 1958, and a teary-eyed Buffon announced his retirement immediately after the match ended:
"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football," Buffon said.
“We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes.
“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.”
This sparked some heartfelt responses allover Twitter - most notably from Spanish stopper Iker Casillas, who quite evidently couldn't deal with the sorrow of the Juventus keeper:
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 (@IkerCasillas) November 13, 2017
The touching tribute to Buffon roughly translates as:
“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!”
Along with Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini are all leaving their international careers behind. It's the end of an era.