Former Inter Milan striker Diego Milito confirms retirement date
Former Inter Milan striker Diego Milito has confirmed he will retire from professional football next summer.
The 36-year-old, who helped the Nerazzurri to a famous treble in 2010, will hang up his boots after next season’s Copa Libertadores.
Milito had planned to retire at the end of the current Argentine Primera Division season – but after his team Racing Club defeated Independiente in the play-offs to book their place in next year’s Libertadores, Milito decided to sign off with one last tilt at South America’s biggest club competition.
"I am happy to say I will play another six months at the club," Milito said. "I will stay to play the Libertadores.”
Explaining the decision, he added: "It was not easy to stop playing football, something I have been doing my whole life.
"We are in a moment to enjoy, a historic moment and one in a positive way. I think I can continue to contribute to this great group we have formed and enjoy another Libertadores.”
Milito has struggled with injuries in recent months, and is adamant he is coming to the end of his career.
"In June 2016 I'm going to retire, no matter what,” he added. “This is my last six months as a professional player."
Inter Milan's coach Mourinho hugs Milito during their Champions League final soccer match in MadridReuters
Milito’s crowning moment as a player perhaps came in the 2010 Champions League final, where he scored both goals as Jose Mourinho’s Inter beat Bayern Munich 2-0. That season the Argentine scored 30 goals in all competitions for the club, as they romped to both the Serie A and Coppa Italia titles as well.
He returned to his homeland with boyhood club Racing in 2014, and was instrumental as the club went on to win its first title in 13 years at the end of the year.
"This is a dream come true," said Milito. "This is special, because I love this club.
“I started here and learned everything here. That allowed me to build my career. I feel privileged. I am very proud of this group.”
He made 25 appearances for Argentina during his career, scoring four goals – going to the 2010 World Cup in the process.
His younger brother, Gabriel, retired in 2012 following a successful career that saw him win the Champions League twice with Barcelona. The former centre-back recently decided to step down as manager of Estudiantes de La Plata.