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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 00:48 GMT
Batistuta confirms his retirement
Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta
The Argentine is a living legend to Fiorentina fans
Argentina's record international goalscorer Gabriel Batistuta has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36.

He scored 56 goals in 78 internationals and spent much of his career in Italy but had his last contract, at Qatari club Al Arabi, cancelled due to injury.

"He has lost enthusiasm to play even though he's in perfect physical shape," said representative Settimio Aloisio.

"It's best he leaves now before football leaves him."

Batistuta's impressive career began with Newell's Old Boys, then had brief spells at River Plate and Boca Juniors before spending nine years at Italian side Fiorentina.

There he became the club's record goalscorer, inspired them to win the Italian Cup and Super Cup and even had a statue erected in his honour at the ground, paid for by fans.

In 2000, he joined Roma, where he won the Scudetto, and three years later had a brief spell at Inter Milan before his ill-fated move to the Middle East.

As well as becoming Argentina's record goalscorer, Batistuta played for them in three World Cups - 1994, 1998 and 2002 - and was part of their Copa America-winning sides in 1991 and 1993.

Batistuta said his retirement was "definitive" but added that he would still remain active in the game.

"I will certainly continue in football in a different role," he said.

"I will continue with my contractual, publicity and managerial commitments and finish my studies for coaching."

Batistuta heads for Qatar
08 Jun 03 |  Europe

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