Long-serving AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati managed to keep his emotions contained after playing his last game following his retirement from football.
The season ended on a disappointing note for Milan as the Serie A outfit were defeated 3-1 at home by Roma on Saturday, condemning the San Siro side to a seventh-place finish in the league.
Abbiati made almost 400 appearances for Milan – where he has played since 1998 – while he also had loan stints at Juventus, Torino and Atletico Madrid.
The 38-year-old won three Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and a Champions League at Milan, and the four-time Italy international said he would be forever indebted to the club for the memories they have given him.
“I thought I would get more emotional, but I kept it all in. I will keep thanking the fans, the club, president [Silvio] Berlusconi and [Milan CEO] Adriano Galliani for the rest of my life for all the wonderful moments I have enjoyed,” Abbiati said after the Roma clash.
“With a host of great stars, we won everything. It’s a shame to say goodbye after a defeat like this. I wanted to thank the fans who waited to say goodbye to me.”
Abbiati said his greatest save came in the 2002-03 Champions League when he played the second leg of a 1-1 draw against local rivals Inter, which meant Milan won the semi-final tie on away goals as they went on to lift the prestigious trophy.
“The save that will mean the most to me was the one in the derby in the Champions League in 2003 which we went on to win,” he said.
And Abbiati predicted a bright future for Gianluigi Donnarumma – the 17-year-old goalkeeper who has made the number one shirt his own this season.
“Donnarumma doesn’’ need me, he is a great lad, he has a sensible head on his shoulders. He has great abilities and he will keep performing well for many years,” he said.