Luca Toni is ready to retire at 38


After 22 years in the game Luca Toni has decided to call it a day, bringing to an end a career that saw him win the European Golden Shoe, a World Cup with Italy, two German league titles and fans across the continent.

The 38-year-old has just endured one of his worst ever campaigns, fresh off the heels of finishing Serie A's joint-top goalscorer with Mauro Icardi last season. Does his retirement signal the end of the Luca Toni, poacher style of striker that was once so effective?

"After a bit of reflection, and many years in football, I just felt the right time had come to call it a day," Toni told a news conference on Wednesday. "These have been difficult weeks and it was a hard decision to take, and I know there's going to be a mixture of joy and sadness between now and Sunday."

The veteran, who scored twice during Italy's most recent World Cup triumph, couldn't stop Hellas Verona from being relegated this campaign, contributing just five goals to the team. He won't take part in the club's final game of the season, instead calling it time when Hellas visit his former club Juventus at the weekend.

He was never beautiful to watch, Toni, or perhaps he was in his own way. He was the type of player who made the ball wince when his foot flew towards it - but the game will likely never see a journeyman as successful as him again.