Former Newcastle ace Davide Santon has been ‘forced’ to retire from football at the age of 31.
The Italian fullback spent four years at St James’ Park, appearing in 94 games and scoring just once. In 2015, Santon returned to his boyhood club Inter Milan, where he had won two Serie A titles and a Champions League before joining the Toons.
After three years at Inter, he then moved to AS Roma where his career was hampered with injuries, making only 54 apps for the club before leaving the club earlier this summer after his contract expired.
In a detailed interview with Italian news outlet TuttoMercatoWeb, he said (h/t Roma Press):
“I find myself forced to quit playing football. My body, due to the numerous injuries I suffered over the years, can’t handle this sport anymore. I don’t want to retire, but I have to.”
“Last year – after being excluded from the team – I was constantly undergoing medical tests which unfortunately showed that I cannot continue. I can still walk using my own two legs but it’s not enough to play professional football. I’d risk needing a prosthesis.”
“The left knee is just gone. It stops me doing lots of things. The right knee, that had surgery three times, removing cartilage, the entire external meniscus, so as soon as I strain it even a little bit, it swells up and can’t bend.”
“If I have to play with the fear of hurting myself any further I don’t want to. I’ve played with that fear for many years. Over the last few years, playing football was not fun anymore: it was pain and suffering.”
Santon also stated that it was Mourinho under whom he enjoyed the most glory. He said: “It was under Mourinho that I experienced the period of greatest glory, but he was not among the most calm coaches that I’ve had. I was young, there was a lot of pressure in the environment. When you have to win, it’s right to be that way.”