Di Natale Aims For 200 Goals Before Retirement

It has been around 1 month since Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale made up his mind and continues to perform for the Italian club as the 36 year old forward has a few goals that he wants to accomplish before retiring.

When the Italian season concluded, Di Natale had already revealed to the media that he was thinking about hanging up his boots and step down from playing at a competitive level but the veteran attacker has now revealed that there still are things left to do in his career.

Antonio Di Natale said: “Three months ago I no longer had the wish to play, but then club owner Giampaolo Pozzo and my family made me change my mind. The people that are close to me have asked me to continue and to score my 200th goal. I am seven goals away from that mark. It would be fantastic to achieve that, but in order to do so I need to be well physically and prepare in the best possible way for the season. It would be amazing to equal the record of 205 Serie A goals set by Roberto Baggio.”

Even at his 36 years of age, Antonio Di Natale still plays a key role in Udinese as he was able on scoring 17 league goals in the previous season which was more goals than any other player of the entire squad.

Udinese has had a fairly busy transfer window as the Italian club secured the services of Pablo Armero, Juan Cuadrado, Cyril Thereau, Albert Riera, Alexis Zapata, Nicolas Lopez, Valerio Verre and Gabriel Torje.

The new head coach of the club, Andrea Stramaccioni is hoping that all of these arrivals will increase the performances of the team and have a better season than their previous campaign where they struggled on claiming victory and had to settle with the 13th spot in the Italian League.

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COLLETT BACKS AGUIRRE

The president of Espanyol, Joan Collet is hoping that Javier Aguirre remains being the manager for the next season but he is aware that the Mexican also has other offers for him to choose from.

“We’re very happy with him but he needs to decide if he wants to stay, because there are other offers, other deals that his work here has earned, but I don’t really think he wants to go. I’ve little doubt that he has the enthusiasm to stay here.” Joan Collet said.

Espanyol’s goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is a summer target of Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester United but the 27 years old shot-stopper revealed that he has no intentions of leaving the club anytime soon.

“My intention is to stay here. This club gave me so much when things were going badly, and I always had a helping hand when I needed them. Now I am happy here, enjoying myself and playing. This is where I belong.”

“I’m not at all worried. I have a year on my contract and I’ll still be here for that time and hopefully even more. My intention has always been to stay here because when I’ve been out and things didn’t go well, I’ve always had the support of the club.” Casilla said.

Barcelona are still keeping their eyes opened in the transfer market for a replacement of Victor Valdez who will be leaving the club at the end  meanwhile for Manchester United, Kiko Casilla can serve as a back-up for David De Gea.

Kiko Casillas has one year remaining in his contract with Espanyol and he has already expressed his desire and ambition of concluding the contract he signed with the Spanish club some time ago and the shot-stopper has even released statements of wanting to extend his stay with Espanyol for a longer period.

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RIERA LEFT OUT

Earlier this year Albert Riera made his way out of the Turkish side Galatasaray and joined the Wellington Phoenix but the Spanish midfielder has suffered a groin tear during a training session with his new team that will be leaving him out of action for a few weeks.

The head coach of the club Ernie Merrick spoke about the condition of Riera on a press conference.

“It looks like Albert has torn a deep groin muscle just at the end of training. It doesn’t look good. We’ll assess it tomorrow. But Alex Rufer is on standby for his place in the travelling squad,” said Merrick.

“Deep groin muscles aren’t good to deal with, so it could be a little while before he’s back … It looks like Albert has torn a deep groin muscle, just at the end of training. So it doesn’t look good. He’s been outstanding … It is sad because he’s been playing very well; he’s been running the show. He’s turned out to be one of the best middle midfielders in the league.”

The side of Ernie Merrick has been taking a few blows in their squad with Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Leo Bertos all out with injuries and now Albert Riera is the latest player that joins the list of injuries.

West Bromwich is believed to be interested in securing the services of the former Liverpool player Alber Riera. The Premier League side which is struggling to keep themselves out of the bottom relegation zone took an interest in the Spanish midfielder ever since he was expected to leave Galatasaray.

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