Argentinian legend Gabriel Batistuta has announced his retirement from football – after his contract with Qatar club Al Arabi was cancelled.
‘Batigol’, whose scoring exploits at Fiortentina established him as one of the finest strikers of his generation, was also Argentina’s record goalscorer.
“I announce my retirement from professional football and I thank those who helped me to have such a successful career,” said Batistuta.
After starting his career with Newell’s Old Boys, Batistuta earned a move to Argentine River Plate and then Boca Juniors.
However, it was during his time with Fiorentina whom he joined in 1991, that Batistuta will be best remembered. A prolific scorer during 9 seasons with the club, he earned the eternal affection of the Viola supporters for his decision to stay with the club when they were relegated in 1993.
Batigol was honoured by a statue provided by the supporters, before finally leaving the club to play for Roma in 2000, picking up a league title in his first full season.
A lucrative move to Qatar followed, but Batistuta admitted he lacked motivation and after Al Arabi cancelled his contract this week, the striker has now decided to hang up his boots.
Batistuta represented Argentina in three World Cups 1994, 1998 and 2002 and was part of two Copa America winning sides in 1991 and 1993.
He played 78 times for Argentina, bagging 56 goals to become his country’s leading goalscorer.