Buffon thanks Rakitic for World Cup offer
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has thanked Ivan Rakitic for offering to give him his spot at the World Cup, but quipped it “might not be a great idea.”
Barcelona midfielder Rakitic will be going to the tournament with Croatia.
Buffon missed out on becoming the first player to feature in six World Cup finals after Italy lost its playoff to Sweden.
“Buffon is really unique, he has the respect of everyone, I’m really sad that he won’t have a last chance to play in a World Cup. If I could, I would give him my place,” Rakitic said ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League match at Juventus on Wednesday.
“Any child creating their ultimate football team would put Buffon in goal. Seeing him in tears after Italy’s game, I wanted to tell him go to the World Cup in my place.”
Buffon is likely to retire at the end of the season and quit international football after the playoff defeat.
The 39-year-old ’keeper, who won the World Cup in 2006, thanked Rakitic on Twitter.
“As a goalkeeper I might still play but playing for Croatia as a midfielder in your place might not be a great idea: I am saying it for your good sake,” Buffon wrote. “Joking apart, your words have been a great gift. Thanks to you and @JordiAlba: my jersey is waiting for you.”