Antonio Di Natale has turned down a quadrupled salary and the chance to move to Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou team, in favour of another season with his beloved Udinese.
The Chinese franchise, who have already bagged Alessandro Diamanti and Alberto Gilardino, were offering €10m over two years to “Toto” who is currently on €1.2m p/a. Do the maths.
However, the Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Di Natale rejected Lippi’s advances in favour of staying in Udine with his family.
The 36 year-old had threatened to retire after this season, after a remarkable career with 196 goals scored during a decade with the same club.
However, six goals in the last three games of the season magically persuaded him to stay it out.
Fact: In each of the past five seasons, Di Natale has scored at least 20 goals.
A year ago, a call came from Dubai; Fabio Cannavaro, an ex-team-mate in the Azzurri years, wanted him at Al-Ahli. The offer – €3.5m per season. The answer was (obviously) no.
Now the Friuli legend has committed himself to at least one more year in his black and white home, and I, for one, am glad.