Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Nesta calls time on Azzurri career

Alessandro Nesta announced his retirement from international football at the age of 31 on Wednesday.

Nesta’s decision comes less than two weeks after Roma talisman Francesco Totti did the same, the defender having won 78 caps. "I'm not going to play for Italy anymore," said the Milan centre-back. "My adventure with the Azzurri finishes here."

Nesta starred for Cesare Maldini's Under-21 European Championship-winning Azzurini side in 1996 before winning a late call-up to the senior squad for Euro '96. Nesta appeared in two further European Championships, including the final in 2000, and three FIFA World Cups, but did not feature in the 2006 final defeat of France having injured his groin in the final group game against the Czech Republic.

"I’ve always been so attached to the national jersey and playing for my country has been the best thing in my career," he said. "I’m very sorry, but I can’t keep playing in all these games. If I want to keep myself at the top level I need to rest a bit."

Born in Rome, Nesta spent eight seasons at Lazio prior to a move to Milan where he added a Scudetto to that won with the Biancocelesti, and Champions League crowns in 2003 and 2007 – the latter triumph coming after a shoulder injury had limited him to just 14 appearances in Serie A.

His final outing for his country was the 3-1 Euro 2008 qualifying victory against Georgia in October. Italy are second in Group B, and face vital September fixtures against France and Ukraine.

Source: C4 Football Italia / UEFA

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