Ex-Italy Striker Antonio Di Natale Reflects on Life After Retiring From Football


Antonio Di Natale has turned 40 and couldn't be happier with his life. A year after he solemnly waved goodbye to the world of football - concluding a career that lasted for two decades - he has told Gazzetta dello Sport (via Gianluca Di Marzio) that he is enjoying his time off. 

"Keeping away from football is not bothering me at all," he said, "Being an entrepreneur, focusing on the housing market, on coffee and on Udinese's football academy make me happy and passionate.

"I was no longer into football, the battery ran out and I understood that the time to stop had come. I have played for more than 20 years and I'm happy with it."

The ex-Italy striker shared his thoughts on returning to football as Udinese's executive: "Francesco Totti and I made history. Even after retiring, he remained at Roma to take part into the directing board, but to me, football is a spinning wheel that stops whenever you are no longer needed."

As he recalls reaching the Euro 2012 final, which Italy eventually lost to Spain, he spares a comment on Italy's past troubled months attempting to qualify for next summer's World Cup. He said: "Italy must qualify, otherwise it will be a catastrophe. The national team always start out from behind, but in the end, succeed."

He also nostalgically compared today's players to the ones he played against in the past: "Belotti and Immobile are good: the former is an animal and the latter does well as an inside forward. 

"But I used to play with Vieri, Inzaghi, Toni, Totti, Del Piero and against Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro, Thuram. I remember being unable to catch some sleep on the night before a game. Now everything changed."