Thirty-six year old Di Natale postpones retirement for one more year

Udinese

There are few more accomplished goalscorers in Serie A than Antonio Di Natale, and the veteran has confirmed he will play one more season for Udinese.

You could excuse Serie A and Udinese legend Antonio Di Natale for thinking about calling it quits as a professional footballer.

At 36-years-old, Di Natale has been a pro footballer for almost 20 years, yet has remarkably come into his richest vein of form the wrong side of 30, having scored 20 goals or more for the last 5 seasons.

Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been exposed by the former Empoli man in European games in recent years, with an outstanding performance at Anfield two years ago earning Udinese a 3-2 away win over the Reds in Brendan Rodgers' first season at Liverpool.

Striker's often find it difficult to maintain such goalscoring ability so far into their 30s, so it is some accomplishment for the former Italy striker to be at the top of the goalscoring charts every season so late in his career.

And after a season where Udinese struggled to replicate their recent outstanding Serie A form, finishing a disappointing 13th, their star forward is set for one last hurrah, shelving plans to retire this summer for a final season in Udine.

Plenty more sides than Liverpool have suffered at the feet of the goal-machine. With 193 goals in 389 games, Di Natale is currently 7th on the all time Serie A goalscorers list, and must surely now fancy overtaking the legendary Roberto Baggio in 6th place, 12 goals ahead of him.

The striker told Corriere della Sera: "I am bound to Udine and to Udinese for another year by contract.

"Last Thursday I went into president Pozzo's office and we talked about what to do.

"Guidolin [Francesco, the former coach] had decided to leave, I wanted to understand the project at Udinese, now without the coach.

"The president reassured me, now I am on vacation."

It is believed the fact Guidolin will be staying at the club in a technical role helped convince Di Natale, who scored 20 goals in 38 games this year, to remain until the end of next season.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch