Antonio Di Natale admits he’s not so sure about retiring at the end of the season and reveals the clubs he turned down.
The 36-year-old Udinese captain had shocked fans, teammates and the club when he announced he was going to hang up his boots, but has now broken into the top 10 all-time Serie A scorers with 184 goals.
“It is a great honour to be among the greatest strikers... it means I’ve done something good with my career...” he told the Corriere dello Sport.
“Now I’m targeting Alessandro Del Piero’s tally. I am only four goals off. I’m in a group of extraordinary players with Francesco Totti, Beppe Signori and Roberto Baggio. To see my name there too is a weird feeling.
“Will I retire in June? We’ll see. For now I am useful to Udinese and my goals can still be handy. I am of a certain age and cannot disguise that, but I have until June to help Udinese stay in Serie A.
“I still want to score a few more goals, then I’ll see how I feel... When I do retire, I’ll go seeking lads who are chasing a dream and help them achieve it. I don’t know if I’d be a Coach, but certainly a director at a youth sector.
“It would also be useful for the Italy side, as with all the foreign players here it’s important someone seeks out local talent. It would be like a return to the past for me, going back to where I started.”
Di Natale has never won a trophy with Udinese, but has no regrets on his decision to stay at the Friuli.
“I played in the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, two European Championships and a World Cup. I could’ve won more elsewhere, but I made my choice and I do not regret it. I’d do it all over again.
“I think of Totti, who could’ve left Roma to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, but instead he won’t move. I made the same choice and I am happy. Football is my life, but I always counted on doing it my way, without changing it.”
Di Natale is a native Neapolitan, but turned down his hometown club among others.
“Udinese is my home and I will finish my career here. I could’ve accepted various offers, including Juventus, or Roma two years ago, even Napoli and Inter. But it was right to stay here.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!