Gianluigi Buffon called-up by Italy for England and Argentina friendlies despite international retirement
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 17/03/18 5:45pm
Gianluigi Buffon has been included in the Italy squad for friendlies against England and Argentina, despite retiring from international football last year.
AC Milan forward Patrick Cutrone and Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa have been handed their first call-ups, although there is no place for in-form Nice striker Mario Balotelli.
Following Italy's play-off defeat to Sweden in November - leading to their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup - Buffon announced the end of his 175-cap international career.
However, interim coach Luigi Di Biagio said last month he wanted the 40-year-old to reconsider his decision and return for Italy's first matches since they failed to reach the tournament in Russia.
Di Biagio said: "I have spoken with Buffon and proposed another two or three games for him because such a player shouldn't end his time with a match like the Sweden one."
Following Di Biagio's comments, Buffon opened himself up to an international return, telling Italian programme Tiki Taka: "When the national team needs you, you must be present and not desert them."
Full-backs Matteo Darmian and Davide Zappacosta, of Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, are the only Premier League players included in the squad.
Italy are still without a permanent manager following Gian Piero Ventura's sacking for failing to reach the World Cup, with Di Biagio in charge until a replacement is found.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa)
Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus), Gianmarco Ferrari (Sampdoria), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Jorge Luiz Frello Jorginho (Napoli), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain)
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Simone Verdi (Bologna)