Italy caretaker manager Luigi Di Biagio is hopeful veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will reverse his decision to retire from international football.
Buffon earned his 175th cap for the Azzurri in November as a goalless draw with Sweden at San Siro confirmed Italy’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The 40-year-old promptly announced his international retirement but Di Biagio wants Buffon to be involved in upcoming friendlies against Argentina and England.
Speaking at his first press conference since becoming interim manager of Italy, Di Biagio said: “I have spoken with Buffon and proposed another two or three games for him because such a player shouldn’t end his time with a match like the Sweden one.
“I’ve spoken with some of the older players because I wanted to understand if they did indeed want to end their time with the national squad.”
AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is widely expected to become Buffon’s long-term successor and Di Biagio has faith in the next generation.
He added: “Our goal is already in safe hands for the next 20 years.
“After a phenomenal player like Buffon, we now have Donnarumma, (Alex) Meret, (Mattia) Perin, (Simone) Scuffet and many more. We’re more than covered in this area.”