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FIFA president Gianni Infantino smiles after a meeting of the FIFA Council on October 14, 2016 at the world football’s governing body headquarters in Zurich. FIFA executives will make a final decision on World Cup reform in January after weighing up three proposals on Thursday, as president Gianni Infantino pushes plans to grow the lucrative tournament. / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed Thursday his dispair at Italy’s failure to reach the World Cup finals where he had hoped to hand the trophy to Azzurri captain Gianluigi Buffon.

“I’m sad, yes I’m sad for the World Cup. I almost cried,” Infantino, who holds both Swiss and Italian nationality, said in an interview with Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport five months ahead of the World Cup final match in Russia.

“I think it’s a collective sadness. We’re talking about a team with a great tradition who give their best in events like this.

“But those who are in Russia deserved to qualify and in any case Italy stayed out with an Italian President: do we need anything else to say we’re honest and clean?”

Infantino, the Swiss-born son of Italian immigrant parents, took over the scandal-battered world body from disgraced president Sepp Blatter in February 2016.

“I would have liked to have given the cup to Buffon though,” admitted the 47-year-old.

Infantino said that there had been signs of trouble within the four-time world champions long before their dramatic failure in…



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