Where are they now? Italy's 2006 World Champions

On the back of their shocking failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup Finals, we take a look at the iconic Italian squad that lifted football's greatest trophy 11 years ago and see what they are up to these days... 

Gianluigi Buffon

Considered one of the best goalkeepers in world football, Buffon was sensational during the 2006 tournament where he would only concede two goals (one in the final against France).

More than a decade later, Buffon remained first choice goalkeeper for the Azzurri during their ill-fated 2018 World Cup qualification and the custodian did not take Italy’s failure to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in 60 years too well, as he announced his retirement from international football immediately after the 0-0 draw with Sweden which sealed Italy’s fate.

The 39-year-old Buffon has had an otherwise stellar 2017 on an individual level, winning the first ever The Best FIFA Goalkeeper. But judging by his tears following Italy’s exit, that will be no consolation.

It’s a shame that one of Italy’s most legendary players had to bow out in this manner but this will only further strengthen Buffon’s resolve to clinch that one trophy that eluded him so far in his career- the UEFA Champions League. Over to you, Juventus.

Gianluca Zambrotta

Zambrotta enjoyed a fine career for both club and country - in addition to lifting the World Cup with Italy, he won three Italian league titles with Juventus and AC Milan as well as a Spanish Super Cup with FC Barcelona.

Zambrotta would then decide to cut his managerial teeth in less glamorous surroundings, as he would close out his career in Switzerland with FC Chiasso in 2013, signing as player-assistant manager before eventually taking over the reins as player-manager later in the season.

Under his tutelage, the club would just about avoid relegation on the last day of the season and after that feat, Zambrotta announced his decision to retire from football to move into full-time management.

Zambrotta is assistant to Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

The following season however, did not go as smoothly as Zambrotta might have envisioned as he was sacked by the Swiss club towards the end of the campaign.

His next move was to India, to manage Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Delhi Dynamos for one season before eventually leaving his role to become assistant to Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

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