Massimo Ambrosini thanked AC Milan "for 18 wonderful years" during a farewell press conference as he said his goodbyes after being told his expiring contract would not be renewed.
Save for a loan spell with Vicenza Calcio in 1997/98, the 36-year-old midfielder had been a Rossoneri player since joining the club from AC Cesena in 1995. During his San Siro career, the former Italian international won the Scudetto four times, the Coppa Italia once and the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup on two occasions each, in 2003 and 2007.
"I wanted to say thank you to everybody for 18 wonderful years. My thanks extend to all those people who are not in the limelight, like those working every day at Milanello [the training ground]," said Ambrosini. "I have waited a couple of days before speaking to allow the sense of disappointment to recede slightly."
Ambrosini, who scored 36 goals in 489 games in all competitions for Milan, added: "It is not my place to say whether it was the right decision or not [his release], but it is not a shocking decision because I am 36 years old. Being with Milan has allowed me to play in magnificent stadiums and to be captain of a great team."
However, the severance of his ties with the Diavolo does not mean retirement for a player capped 35 times by his country over a nine-year period. "I still regard myself as a player, so my intention is to continue playing," he said.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.