5 Italian forwards who will 'never' retire
Serie A’s golden days are gone. The era of the early 90s, when the best players in the world dreamt of playing for the famed Rossoneri, Nerazzurri and Bianconeri shirts of AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus are long gone. Yet, there is one constant in the Serie A – the typical Italian frontman, playing well into his late 30s, and still scoring goals.
The famed Milan Lab and Juventus, in recent years, have made it an art of prolonging the careers of 35-year-olds considered past their prime. While football is famous for being incredibly ruthless when there is even a hint of a famous star’s powers waning, these strikers have resisted the passing of time.
Here are 5 evergreen Italian strikers who will continue to plunder in the goals for more years to come.
1) Antonio Di Natale
Antonio Di Natale’s farewell match for Udinese turned out to be an almost perfect goodbye. After 12 years of service, Di Natale injured himself in training ahead of the game against Carpi, but came on with 12 minutes to go and scored a penalty for the Zebras. Even though Udinese lost the game, the crowd cheered the emotional 38-year-old as he bade farewell.
After 227 goals in all competitions for Udinese, many assumed Di Natale would be hanging up his boots. Yet, the lethal striker still feels he has plenty left in him – when asked about retirement ahead of the Carpi game, Tonio joked that he’d ask Francesco Totti’s permission to retire first. He later went on, “I'm old but I still feel good.”
By his own admission, Di Natale admitted he ‘cried like a baby’ when he cleared out his locker for Udinese, as the 12 years at the Stadio Friuli ‘flashed before his eyes.’ Yet, despite an injury hit campaign where he only scored twice, Di Natale still remains a prolific striker with a nose for goal, and could quite conceivably earn a late payday with in Australia, the Middle East or even the MLS.
Clearly, the world still needs more Toto Di Natale.