Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale plans to keep playing
Antonio Di Natale said he intends to play on for another season with his current club Udinese his first choice, although he will not make up his mind until June.
The 37-year-old has added another 14 goals to his total of 207 in Italy's top flight this season and his recent form has convinced him that he is not yet ready to hang up his boots for good. Only three months ago, he said he was going to leave the club this summer, although few actually believed him back then.
He had said the very same thing in 2014 before realising that he still has plenty to give to the game, and now he has overtaken Roberto Baggio on the all-time Serie A top goalscorer's chart, he has an even greater incentive to continue.
"Let's say that I've rediscovered a great desire to keep playing," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "This means I'm feeling good and I'm playing well. When you break a record and reach objectives, then you immediately set yourself new ones, and I've got two champions just ahead of me."
The reference is to Jose Altafini and Giuseppe Meazza, who both scored 216 goals in their careers in Serie A -- a mark Di Natale could realistically aim to beat by playing on for another year.
He has gone into double figures in each of the past nine seasons, netting 29 in 2009-10 and 28 a year later, but says he cannot yet commit entirely to a new contract.
"I've got a [friendly] game [for Italy] against Germany on June 3 in Milan and then I'm at a wedding on June 6, then I'm heading to the beach," Di Natale added. "I need to reflect well when I am there.
"I can assure you that it is not about money for the simple reason that the Pozzo family have always satisfied me and made me happy. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them. What they have done for me over the years is something special; it's a unique relationship."
That relationship now seems set to continue with Di Natale, after netting goal number 207 on a day when the entire Stadio Friuli paid tribute to him for his previous 206, admitting that "it shows that they really love me a lot here. It was an incredible show of affection."