Gianluigi Buffon admits he has been “overwhelmed” by the support he has received after missing out on this year’s Ballon d’Or shortlist.
The 37-year-old helped guide Juventus to their fourth consecutive Serie A title last season, while the club also won the Coppa Italia and reached the Champions League final where they were beaten by Barcelona.
But despite this, Buffon has failed to make the 59-man list of candidates which includes only two Italians – Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Pirlo.
“This morning, on a day like any other, I looked at my phone was overwhelmed by the messages of support and solidarity, and not because I wasn’t nominated among the 50 or 60 candidates for the Ballon d’Or,” Buffon posted on his Facebook page.
“Honestly, I was not aware that the list would be drawn-up today, so I was caught by surprise by the flood of people gathering around me!
“By now you may have guessed, that for years I’ve been an incurable optimist, and it’s hard for me to feel resentment, frustration or above all, resignation.
“So do you know what I’m taking away from this incident? The spontaneous embrace I received this morning from all of you, and the media commenting on my exclusion.
“Thank you, it really warmed my heart, it was an act of great respect which didn’t embarrass me, but one which I loved for a thousand and one reasons.
“It was a personal thing, and it’s proof that I don’t have, and never have had, saints watching over me in heaven.
“I took what I’ve been given, and I got where I did on the basis of something that is often undervalued – merit.
“There are a lot of other reasons, but above all I like to think that you care about me as an Italian among Italians, but also as an Italian in the world, which makes me see even more beauty in this wonderful adventure that is life!
“Of course, I’ll tell you in all sincerity that I thought I might be among the five best goalkeepers of last season. Obviously it’s gone to my head.”