Casillas to Buffon: 'You still have to delight us in football, friend'
Lee Smith / Action Images

In the aftermath of Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Iker Casillas is joining the fanfare surrounding Gianluigi Buffon.

On Monday, after Italy and Sweden played out a scoreless draw that confirmed the Azzurri will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1958, Casillas wrote a statement on Twitter which read: "I don't like seeing you like this at all! I want to see you as usual, as you continue to be for many: a LEGEND. Proud to meet you and proud of having faced you many times. You still have to delight us in football, friend!"

After Italy fell 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden, Buffon was in tears, and said: "I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football. We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes."

Buffon's post-match comments have been widely interpreted to mean he's retiring from international competition.

Casillas and Buffon are regarded as the best two goalkeepers of a generation that is approaching the end of the road. At the international level, they met at Euro 2008, when Spain beat the Azzurri on penalty kicks in the quarter-finals as the Spanish shot-stopper denied Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale. The two also faced off in the final of Euro 2012, when La Roja produced a 4-0 victory.

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Casillas to Buffon: 'You still have to delight us in football, friend'
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