Veteran Italian striker Toni to retire on Sunday

toni(IANS) Italian football great and Verona’s veteran striker Luca Toni, 38, on Wednesday announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 2006 FIFA World Cup winner also has two Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich and the European Golden Shoe in 2006. He scored 16 goals in 47 matches for Italy. He played for his national team last time in 2009.

“After some time to reflect and many years of football, I’ve decided that Sunday will be my last game as a professional,” he was quoted as saying by

“I’m a little emotional, it was a difficult and painful decision but I’ve come to the end of my playing career.”

Already relegated Verona will host Toni’s former club Juventus, who have secured their fifth Serie A title.

In his 22-year career, he has scored 156 Serie A goals in 343 games — for eight different clubs, including Roma, Fiorentina and Juventus.

He became the oldest player — at 38 — to win the Serie A golden boot, finishing joint top with Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi last season on 22 goals.

Toni described this season as “worst of my career” as it is being marred by injuries. “When everything goes well it’s difficult to think about retiring,” Toni said.

“But this has been the worst season of my career, also on a mental level. The only way of stopping was to have a great disappointment and this year the disappointment for me was enormous.”

Medaram Jathara

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