Luca Toni announces retirement

The veteran Verona striker will hang up his boots after Sunday's game with Juventus.

Luca Toni announces retirement
Verona striker Luca Toni has announced his retirement. | Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Veteran Italian striker Luca Toni has announced that he will retire from football after Verona's game against Juventus on Sunday. 

End of era 

Toni's final game against the Serie A champions and his former club will bring to an end a career that has spanned over three decades, in which he has scored 156 league goals in 343 appearances for eight clubs. 

The 38-year-old showed that he still had it last season, finishing joint top scorer in the Italian top flight with Internazionale's Mauro Icardi on 22 goals. 

The 2006 FIFA World Cup winner told the press on Wednesday that after a "bit of reflection" and "many years in football" that he felt it was the "right time" to "call it a day". 

He continued, saying that the last few weeks had been "difficult" and that it was a "hard decision to take." Toni concluded by saying he is fully aware that there will be a mixture of "joy and sadness" ahead of Sunday's game. 

Above: Luca Toni with the World Cup in 2006 after he announced his retirement from football on Wednesday | Photo: Sky Sports
Luca Toni (right) with the World Cup in 2006. | Photo: Sky Sports

Terrible way to go out 

Toni and Verona have failed to capture the form from last season, with the striker scoring just five goals in 22 appearances as the club sit at the foot of the table, having already been relegated to Serie B

Toni admitted that the club's poor showing this season was one of main reasons behind his decision to call it a day and regrets ending his career on such a low point. 

He said that this had been the "worst year" of his career for "various reasons" and that it had been a "huge disappointment". 

He continued, saying that he has "never had a good relationship" with coach Gigi Delneri and that the season has been a "defeat" for both of them. 

Verona will host Juventus at the Stadio Marc' Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday, May 8 with kick-off at 7:45pm BST.