Antonio Di Natale spoke ahead of his final Udinese appearance after “12 incredible years. I’m happy with the choices I made.”
The veteran striker could continue his playing career, most likely abroad at Alessandro Nesta’s Miami FC, although Bologna are interested in Serie A.
“I thank everyone, as these have been 12 incredible years,” said Toto’ in a Press conference.
“I want to thank the club and fans, as in these 12 years I made a lifestyle choice and I’m happy with the choices I made.
“Scoring 226 goals with Udinese is nothing to be sniffed at. My family helped me a great deal and I scored goals for me, for the club and for the fans.
“I went close to winning the Coppa Italia twice, unfortunately without achieving it, but I am happy with my career anyway.
“The worst memory of this experience was the current campaign, as we’ve never struggled this much. The most wonderful is the victory at Catania, as when we returned to Udine there were so many people waiting to greet us.
“I thank the President, but I can assure I will not disappear from Udine. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I will certainly remain bonded to Udine. I was always made to feel at home here, so it was an honour to be accepted by these people.
“We’ll see, I will have a couple of months of vacation, but I certainly won’t return here as a player. It’s only right to leave room to the younger players.
“Youth academies are my passion and I have two football schools here.
“The best I ever worked with here was Alexis Sanchez, but then there were also players like Vincenzo Iaquinta, Fabio Quagliarella, Samir Handanovic, Gokhan Inler, Kwadwo Asamoah…
“Just 10 minutes ago I was crying at a message sent to me by Francesco Guidolin. I remember all the Coaches with pleasure, as scoring 200 goals here was like winning two World Cups.
“When I’m travelling and see the sign that reads Udine, I think ‘this is my home.’”
President Gianpaolo Pozzo was also at the Press conference and dropped some hints about what we’ll see at the Dacia Arena against Carpi tomorrow evening.
There has already been a flyer released confirming fans will receive free beer to toast their beloved Toto.
“It is an emotional day and it won’t be easy to replace a champion like this who gave us so much joy. We’ve been fortunate enough to have this champion with us.
“I don’t know what he’ll want to do next, but as long as Francesco Totti is playing football, Toto can do it too. He’ll always find the doors open here, even when he has finished his playing career.
“We don’t want to reveal anything yet, but I hope the surprise we’ve got lined up tomorrow is up to the standards of his talent. We haven’t thought about retiring the Number 10 shirt, but it’s an idea.
“If he said he wanted to remain for one more year to help out in the locker room, we’d be happy, but it’s not in his nature.
“I think he can continue playing for another two years, albeit taking into account he’s no longer the Toto of a few years ago. Unfortunately, in football time does pass and you have to accept the facts.”
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