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Ivan Rakitic offers his World Cup place to Gianluigi Buffon in brilliant tribute 

Rakitic will go up against the goalkeeping legend on Wednesday when Juventus host Barcelona

We’re still pretty gutted that Gianluigi Buffon won’t be going to the World Cup this summer. 

It’s been over a week since Italy fell to Sweden in the play-offs, meaning the legendary goalkeeper’s international career ends in heartbreaking circumstances.

Cue the waterworks. 

Who’s cutting onions?

AP:Associated Press
Who’s cutting onions?

In fact, the veteran shot-stopper was so distraught, he didn’t play for Juventus at the weekend – starting from the bench in their 3-2 defeat to Sampdoria.

But we’re pretty sure he’ll feature in their crunch Champions League clash against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Buffon on the bench – a rare sight

AFP or licensors
Buffon on the bench – a rare sight

Ivan Rakitic certainly hopes so.

Ahead of the big game in Turin, the Barca playmaker had some quite lovely things to say about Buffon – and even offered him his place at the World Cup.

The Croatia international said: “I can’t teach Buffon anything, everything he has given football is huge and it’s a pleasure to compete against him tomorrow.

“I would give up my place in the World Cup for him; when you see him crying, you want to cry too.

“A player like him cannot say goodbye like that.”

We feel you, Ivan. We feel you. 

Buffon in the Croatia squad? Hmm

Buffon in the Croatia squad? Hmm

The words clearly moved Buffon, who responded to Rakitic on Twitter:

“Dear Rakitic, 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.

“Joking apart, your words have been a great gift.”

Not a bad pair, eh?

Getty Images - Getty
Not a bad pair, eh?

Barca currently lead Juve by three points at the top of Group D, having comprehensively beaten the Serie A side 3-0 when they played them in September.

We know we say this every season, but wouldn’t it be nice if Gigi could win the Champions League this year?

Come on folks, make it happen!