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Gianluigi Buffon Accepted Italy Call-Up To Pay Tribute To Davide Astori

Veteran shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that he has joined up with the Italian national side to play tribute to the late Davide Astori. The 31-year-old sadly passed away in his sleep earlier this month, and this recently saw his former club Fiorentina pledge to rename their training ground after him.

Speaking in a press conference, the 40-year-old revealed that he felt a sense of responsibility which drove him to accept a call-up from interim boss Luigi Di Biagio to the national side.

He added that the games against Argentina and England would offer him the perfect opportunity to honour his late cohort, he said:“He’s a reason why I’m here. I wanted to be present and respond to this feeling. I’m here because I’ve always been a person who has followed through with what they have said, with a sense of responsibility. These two things are enough, and what’s more, Di Biagio was very nice to me. The young guys have already grown up and will have the space they need.”

Italy suffered the shock of missing out on the World Cup after they succumbed to a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in the playoffs, and this has witnessed the need for new faces in the squad. Young forwards Patrick Cutrone and Federico Chiesa have been called up from AC Milan and Fiorentina respectively whilst Di Biagio has stuck with the likes of Antonio Candreva and Leonardo Bonucci, who add value and experience in the line-up.

Both England and Argentina are through to this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, and the Azzurri have the perfect opportunity to express themselves in the upcoming friendlies. Italy’s next major challenge comes in the form of UEFA’s Nations League which is due to launch in September 2018. The competition is due to replace the friendly matches during the FIFA International Match Calendar.