That’s it then; Italy’s shock failure to reach the World Cup this summer proved to be Gianluigi Buffon’s final international appearance.
The legendary goalkeeper has called time on his 20-year career with the Azzurri after a record 175-caps.
Having made his debut for Italy in October 1997 at the age of 19, he’s since seen off the likes of Gianluca Pagliuca, Francesco Toldo, Christian Abbiati and Salvatore Sirigu for the No 1 jersey.
But after his tearful farewell in the wake of their play-off defeat to Sweden, attention will now turn to his natural understudy; AC Milan teenager and namesake Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The 18-year-old – who holds the record as the youngest goalkeeper to represent Italy – will surely come in as Italy’s new No 1.
And considering his youth and high regard in the game, the kid who grew up idolising Buffon could well become Italy’s main man between the sticks for years to come.
He could even one day break his hero’s all-time caps record.
The teenager certainly appears well-equipped to fill the considerable void left in the goalmouth, having represented the mighty Milan for two and half seasons already.
He’s long been considered one of Italy’s most exciting prospects, and one of the most promising young footballers of his generation.
At 18 (he’s not 19 until February), he already has four caps for the Azzurri, which is just 171-caps away from equalling Buffon’s record.
It’s certainly a record for the youngster to aim for – and we quite fancy his chances of reaching Gigi’s lofty heights.
For starters, he’s made his Italy debut a whole two years earlier than Buffon did, who wasn’t Italy’s undisputed first-choice ‘keeper until the World Cup in 2002, when he was competing with Toldo.
Donnarumma also faces very little competition in the position, with Genoa’s Mattia Perin behind him in the pecking order at the moment, while the likes of Simone Scuffet and Alex Meret are some way off Donnarumma’s standard.
Sun Bets are offering odds of 20/1 on Donnarumma breaking Buffon’s total caps haul.
And why not?
Things may look bleak for Italy right now, but the future’s bright.
The future’s Donnarumma.