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Stay at Udinese, Colantuono tells Di Natale

08 June 2015, 20:53

Milan - New Udinese coach Stefano Colantuono said he hopes veteran striker Antonio Di Natale will ditch plans to end his career outside Italy and play at least one more season in Serie A.

On what was his 10th season at the unfashionable northern club, Di Natale, 37, hit 14 league goals to overtake Roberto Baggio's 205-goal tally to finish the campaign with 207 league goals and move up to sixth on Serie A's all-time list.

Also read: Luis Enrique will stay, says Barca president

Di Natale, whose contract expires in 2016, is rumoured to be moving to a club in the Gulf or in America's Major Soccer League (MLS) and Udinese have said they would not hold him back.

But Colantuono said he hopes Di Natale will play another season.

If he does, he would be expected to beat the tally of 216 goals set by both legendary Inter Milan striker Giuseppe Meazza (1929-1947) and former AC Milan great Jose Altafini (1958-1976).

"What can you say about Toto (Antonio), he scored 14 goals last season and is a major influence in this club," said Colantuono at his first press conference Monday after replacing Andrea Stramaccioni last week.

"I'm waiting to talk to him and I'm convinced that, beyond his goalscoring, he still has a lot to offer. Hopefully we will work something out."

Under Stramaccioni, Udinese finished 16th in Serie A just one place and four points ahead of Atalanta.

But Di Natale hit a landmark when he surpassed Baggio's 205-goal tally with his 206th league goal in a 1-0 win away to Verona last month.

He was subdued during his brief post-match interview, preferring to comment on the game than what will happen next season.

"It is an honour to overtake Baggio and I am very happy for this goal, but I don't want to talk about my future," he said.

Di Natale is now sixth in the all-time Serie A goalscoring charts, ahead of players like Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero and Giuseppe Signori.

Italian Silvio Piola (274 goals), who ended his career in 1954, remains the all-time leader with current Roma captain Francesco Totti second (243) and Swede Gunnar Nordahl third on 225.



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