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The 38-year-old former Italian international goalkeeper Francesco Toldo has announced his retirement from football.
"My holidays will be long this year, because I will quit playing," said Toldo, part of FC Internazionale Milano's treble-winning squad of last season. "It's the first time I am announcing my decision and I feel emotional, because this has been my job for 20 years."
Toldo, who also played for Hellas Verona FC, ASD Trento Calcio 1921 and Ravenna Calcio before hitting the big time with ACF Fiorentina between 1993 and 2001, retires with five Scudettos, five Coppa Italias and four Italian Super Cups among his honours. He was also on the bench throughout Inter's UEFA Champions League triumph last term. Also particularly vivid in the memories of Azzurri fans is Toldo's display in the UEFA EURO 2000 semi-final win against the Netherlands, in which he saved three penalties to help Italy into the final, where they eventually succumbed to France.
"Despite this decision, I will keep working with Inter for the grassroots project Inter Campus, and I will try to improve the club's corporate image," continued Toldo, who moved to Inter nine years ago. "I didn't expect Inter to become a second home for me but that's what happened. As soon as I arrived here I had a positive feeling."
Toldo was a regular fixture in his first four campaigns with the Nerazzurri before being forced to assume the role of deputy to Brazilian Júlio César. He has no regrets, however: "I think all the decisions taken were made in the right way, with transparency, and so I was loyal to the club in exchange," he explained. "This is also why success came: you have to put your personal desires to one side for the team's good."
Toldo, who played 29 times for Italy, is proud that he will be part of Inter's future. "I don't think the results we achieved came by chance, we won everything we could in the last five years which means the structure of the club is at a high level."
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