Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo

Interim Italy coach Luigi Di Biagio has included veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in a 26-man squad.

Gianluigi Buffon in action for Italy   -  Getty Images

Gianluigi Buffon looks set to extend his international career after being included in Italy's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Argentina and England.

The Juventus goalkeeper fought back the tears when announcing his retirement after the Azzurri lost 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden in a World Cup play-off last November.

However, the 40-year-old has softened his stance since then and, having held a meeting with interim Italy coach Luigi Di Biagio in February, could now add to his national record of 175 caps.

As well as picking Buffon, Di Biagio – who has stepped up from his role as Under-21 boss on a temporary basis – has also named uncapped forwards Federico Chiesa and Patrick Cutrone in a 26-man squad.

There is a recall for Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura, who won the last of his eight caps in December 2016, but Mario Balotelli and Simone Zaza both miss out.

Italy face Argentina at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on March 23 before taking on England at Wembley four days later.

Italy squad:

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Leonardo Bonucci (Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Gian Marco Ferrari (Sampdoria), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Jorginho (Napoli), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Marco Parolo (Lazio) Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Simone Verdi (Bologna), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Patrick Cutrone (Milan).

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