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Feb 11, 2013

Heart surgery may force Natalino to quit

Inter Milan defender Felice Natalino could be forced to retire from football after having to undergo emergency heart surgery.

Natalino, 20, needed treatment after tests last month showed he had an irregular heartbeat. He returned to training but became ill during a trip to his home town, Lamezia, two weeks ago.

Doctors rushed him to hospital in Milan, where he underwent emergency surgery on Thursday.

His father, Pasquale, told reporters that his condition could force him to retire from football, with clarification of whether or not that will be necessary due in the next few weeks.

"The doctors told us we need to wait until we'll know if Felice can return to playing football," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If he can, then it won't be earlier than four or five months.

"What really counts is that my son is fine and we are happy. On Wednesday, he didn't want to miss watching a minute of the Under-21 game [against Germany] or Italy against Holland. Our joy is seeing him healthy. The rest? We'll see."

Natalino is highly regarded by the Nerazzurri, having made his first-team debut for the club at the age of 18.

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