Luca Toni rules out coaching as he retires from professional football
Luca Toni says he will never forget his last game as a professional football, which he crowned with a Panenka penalty in Hellas Verona's 2-1 win over Juventus on Sunday.
The 38-year-old announced last week that Sunday's clash with Serie A champions Juve would be his last, and he signed off in style with a penalty past Juve's goalkeeper Neto and a standing ovation when he was substituted five minutes from the end.
"It's hard to put into words what I feel," Toni said, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I can only say thank you to everybody for making this a magic night, which I will remember forever. It was my last game, but it had to come.
"It's one of the most beautiful and at the same time saddest moments because it's not easy to quit football."
Toni put relegated Hellas in front with a penalty which he said he took instinctively.
"I'm just not very normal really and you have to take risks if you want to do things spectacularly," he said, adding "I didn't know whether to shoot left or right, so I decided to chip it."
It was followed by his trademark celebration, twisting his hand next to his ear -- but for only the sixth time this season, having been the league's joint top goalscorers with Mauro Icardi last term.
It was the 324th goal of a career which has now come to an end, although Toni will not be leaving the game entirely.
"From tomorrow, I will have the enthusiasm of a little kid to do something different," Toni said.
"I'm not going to go into coaching, though, because I can see how some of my former teammates are ageing five years for every year that passes. No, I'd rather do something upstairs."
Toni will travel with the squad to Palermo for their final game of the season, but he has already ruled out making an appearance in that fixture.
"It's only right that I quit at home, in front of my own fans," he said.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.