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.”