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Rakitic: I would like to say to Buffon that he goes to the World Cup instead of me

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic admitted that he was saddened that legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon won’t be playing at next year’s World Cup after Italy failed to qualify.

Rakitic will face Buffon’s Juventus side in the Champions League on Wednesday and spared a thought for the veteran shot-stopper.

If I had to explain something to Buffon about football it would be complicated,” said Rakitic.

“It has left me feeling as though I would like to give my place to him, to go instead of me to the World Cup. He has given us all so much, those that like football. When a child makes a list of players to form a team at home then they put Buffon in goal.

“It makes you want to cry when you saw the tears from Buffon, it is difficult to say how you feel.

Rakitic also felt it a pity that Buffon did not receive a proper farewell.

“It’s a shame that a player of his calibre can’t have his farewell at a World Cup, which I believe was his dream, ” he continued.

“If I could I would swap with him tomorrow, because I’m still young enough that I could play in another one.

“For Italy, it may be a case of one step back and then two steps forward.”