Verona veteran Luca Toni reveals the biggest regrets of his long career are Juventus, Roma and Inter, but has advice on improving Italian football.
The 37-year-old striker recently celebrated his 300th professional goal and spoke to Tuttosport about his experiences at Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and more.
“Perhaps I arrived at Juventus a little late in the day. I could’ve done more, given the chance, but the club made other choices,” he said of his brief spell from January to June 2012.
“Before the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, I was very close to Inter. Then Fiorentina were penalised points and Della Valle declared I was not for sale.
“One of my biggest regrets was failing to win the Scudetto at Roma, because that is something truly special and if you wear that jersey, you can breathe the passion. That’s also why it is so difficult to win there.
“I didn’t like playing in Dubai for Al-Nasr, as it was very amateurish. So I terminated my contract early and returned to Italy.”
Having scored 21 goals in a single Serie A season for Verona, Toni had hoped for an Italy recall going into the 2014 World Cup.
“I believed in my chances, because I saw that right to the end Cesare Prandelli was calling players who had never worn the Azzurri jersey before. Maybe 21 goals weren’t enough...
“Prandelli is a great Coach and I had two wonderful years with him in Florence. I don’t know what happened, but we never spoke again.”
Toni has won silverware with Bayern Munich and has plans to get into the infrastructure of Italian football after his retirement.
“I’ll stay in football, as it’s the only thing I know about! There should be more focus on youth academies and home-grown players. Ciro Immobile was top scorer in Serie A, Juventus owned half his contract, but they sold him abroad and bought Alvaro Morata instead.
“Really radical changes are needed. For example, in Italy they often ban supporters from away games. There’s nothing more embarrassing for a player than hearing the voice of the ball boy during a game. It puts you off the sport.
“Do you know why Bayern works so well? Because Rummenigge and Hoeness are in charge, two men who made history at that club. How can someone decide what’s best for footballers if he’s never played or gone through a youth academy?
“There are so many who could do the job, like Vialli, Del Piero, Cannavaro or Albertini. When it comes to politics, it’s better to have someone who actually knows about football too.”