Gianluigi Buffon is to have surgery on his back and hopes to return to action in around three months time.
The Italy and Juventus goalkeeper started the holders' opening game of the World Cup in their 1-1 draw with Paraguay, but suffered a herniated disc and was replaced at half time by Federico Marchetti.
The 32-year-old played no further part in the tournament, having to watch agonisingly on as a spectator at the 2006 champions crashed out following a draw with New Zealand and a thrilling 3-2 defeat to Slovakia on Thursday to finish bottom of Group F.
Buffon, who admitted that their failure to even make the last 16 was down to the team, also stated that he felt it was time to focus on lengthening his career with his club rather than looking back.
"I have decided to undergo surgery. I should have done it three years ago but I didn't for altruism, for responsibility towards the club," he told Rai TV.
"Now I want to take two, three months to return to fitness and restart. This is the moment to think about yourself."