Italy rugby great Castrogiovanni retires


Martin Castrogiovanni has announced his retirement from professional rugby union at the age of 35.

One of the most recognisable players in world rugby, the prop was born in Argentina but went on to earn 119 caps for Italy - a tally surpassed only by Sergio Parisse.

In addition to establishing himself as a key figure in Italy's team for more than a decade, Castrogiovanni enjoyed success at club level - winning national titles in Italy, England and France with Calvisano, Leicester Tigers and Toulon respectively.

He also helped Toulon to two European crowns, before spending a season with Racing 92 that was marred by a suspension in April. Castrogiovanni was pictured partying with Paris Saint-Germain players in Las Vegas, after he had told his club he would be attending to a family matter in Argentina.

In a statement confirming the end of his career, Castrogiovanni said: "I want to thank the Italian Rugby Federation, and above all the Italian rugby fans and fans of the national team for the extraordinary affection they have always shown me.

"I always tried to be myself, for better or for worse, and I hope that the Italian audience understood and appreciated it."