Barzagli latest Italy player to retire from international duty

by 5d ago
Valerio Pennicino / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Italy defender Andrea Barzagli is stepping away from the international stage.

The centre-back became the latest Italian legend to announce his retirement from international football following Monday's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Barzagli described Italy's failure to overturn Sweden's 1-0 advantage as a bitter way to end his international career, and passed along his best wishes to the next generation of Italian players.

"I think this is biggest disappointment of my life in football," he said. The Italian National Team gives you unique sensations, you have goosebumps during the anthem as you're united with the fans. It's a shame to finish like that.

"The tears at the Euros were an outlet, to leave like this is a tough blow for my career.

"With (Gianluigi Buffon) and Daniele (De Rossi), we experienced the 2006 World Cup together but also with Giorgio (Chiellini) we went through a lot together. There has to be hope now. A cycle is finishing for four or five veterans and it starts again for the young guys and I hope they have the desire.”

The 36-year-old wraps up his career with 73 caps and a World Cup winners' medal after Italy's triumph in 2006.

De Rossi confirmed his retirement shortly after the match, while Buffon reiterated his intention to step away from the Italian team after making his 175th appearance.

Chiellini is also expected to hang up his boots for the national team, but has yet to make a formal announcement.