Rome, November 14 – The head of Italian sport on Tuesday paid tribute to goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon, who bravely faced the media despite being in tears after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup, with Monday’s 0-0 draw with Sweden set to be his last international game. The Juventus captain’s dream of taking part of a record sixth World Cup is dead as he is now retiring from international football. “I’d like to thank Buffon because yesterday he faced the music,” said Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò. “His cry of pain was not just because he won’t be the first player to take part in six World Cups, but also because he felt the weight of the defeat for young people and the whole country”. Buffon said he was sorry about the failure as qualifying would have been “important on a social level” for Italy. The keeper has made a record 175 appearances for Italy and helped the Azzurri win the World Cup in 2006.