Ibrahimovic and Five Serie A Stars Who Should Call Time on Their Career

When it comes to ending a playing career, every athlete has his own doctrine. While some prefer to call it a day while they’re still on top of their game, others opt to linger for a few more years, postponing the inevitable. Admittedly, this decision is purely personal and must be fully respected, but in some cases, the writing on the wall is too thick and bright to be ignored. So which Serie A players should be urged to retire at the end of the season?

While all of the stars mentioned below are at an advanced playing age, their birth date isn’t the decisive factor in here but rather their physical condition and overall contribution to the cause. So if Gianluigi Buffon is still able to act as a protagonist in Parma’s bid for Serie A promotion at the age of 45, then the legendary goalkeeper has no reason to hang his gloves as long as he’s still enjoying his time between the sticks.

On the other hand, the six players we’re about to list are struggling for form, health and/or playing time, rendering their campaigns unpleasant for them and their fans alike.

Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

Having celebrated his 36th birthday at the start of the month, Leonardo Bonucci isn’t terribly old for a defender, but almost 15 years of non-stop battles at the highest level have taken their toll on the Italian’s body.

These days, the Juventus captain alternates his time between the bench and treatment table while making occasional appearances on the pitch. But even in his rare outings, the aging defender struggles to remain on the pitch for the duration of the match, as proven by his most recent outing against Sevilla in the Europa League semi-final, when he asked to be substituted at the hour mark.

Moreover, the Euro 2020 hero no longer possesses the pace and stamina to catch up with younger strikers, marking him as a weak point in the Old Lady’s attack.

After representing the three biggest clubs in Italian football and winning nine Serie A titles in the process along with a host of other trophies, it wouldn’t be an ill-advised decision to retire at the end of the season and spare himself more blushes.

Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

Last season, Fabio Quagliarella considered hanging his boots as it was obvious that he hardly had anything left in the tank. Yet, Sampdoria urged him to delay the call and stay put for another campaign.

While his undying passion for the Blucerchiati swayed him to linger in Liguria, his reward was a campaign from hell. Since the middle of the season, Samp already had one foot in Serie B,  and their aging captain haplessly watched the ship sinking while failing to offer any noteworthy contribution aside from wise advice and words of encouragement that have sadly fallen on deaf ears.

At the age of 40, Quagliarella deserves to enjoy a happy retirement while it’s time for fallen Genoase to find themselves a new talisman who can lead them out of the dark tunnel.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan)

The gods might be immortal, but standing the test of time is a different matter.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is undoubtedly one of the best athletes to ever grace a football pitch, and the day he calls it a career will be a sad one for the sport. However, it’s time to succumb to the father time and accept the curse of aging.

At the age of 41, the Swede has been reduced to a part-time footballer at best and a full-time inspirational figure in the Milan locker room. At the end of last season, the former Juventus, Inter and PSG striker revealed the almost intolerable pain he has to go through just to feature occasionally.

The whole equation just doesn’t seem right, fair or beneficial for anyone at this point, so the Serie A icon would hopefully retire at the end of the season and put an end to what has become an agonizing journey.

Federico Marchetti (Genoa)

When Spezia hosted Juventus at the Alberto Picco, Serie A fans were taken by surprise when Federico Marchetti entered the pitch as a substitute, as many among us thought that the Italian goalkeeper had already retired.

The 40-year-old left Genoa at the end of last season and remained unattached for a while, before joining the Aquilotti last January on a short-term deal.

The former Cagliari and Lazio custodian is best remembered for serving in Buffon’s stead when the latter sustained an injury during Italy’s disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign.

However, it’s been years since Marchetti had last served as an automatic choice at any club, and acting as Spezia’s third-choice goalkeeper should hopefully be his last gig before putting an end to this career downhill.

Stefan Radu (Lazio)

When Giorgio Chiellini left Juventus after 17 years, Stefan Radu became the longest-serving player at any Serie A club, but the Romanian must contemplate retirement sooner rather than later.

The 36-year-old was a stalwart at the back for the capital side from 2008 until the arrival of Maurizio Sarri who reduced the Romanian’s role during his first campaign at Formello, before casting him aside in his second term.

This season, Radu is yet to gain a single minute of Serie A action, which surely accelerated his decision to retire. So kudos to the veteran for making a timely call.

It appears that the versatile defender will remain at Lazio in a managerial role, which highlights the great esteem he enjoys at his adopted home.

Miguel Veloso (Verona)

Can Miguel Veloso hold one for another year or two? perhaps. But nowadays, it just feels that the Verona captain has lost a step or two, which is completely expected for a 37-year-old who plays in a physically-demanding role.

The former Portugal international had a storied career and he paid his dues in Italian football, so at this stage, he has nothing left to prove for himself or anyone else on the pitch.

So unless he fancies another experience at some struggling club or perhaps a lucrative salary outside of Europe, calling time on his career would be a wise decision.

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