Gabriel Batistuta has said that he has “difficulty walking” because of the rigours of his football career.
Batistuta retired in 2005 having scored 200 Serie A goals for Fiorentina, Roma and Inter Milan and as Argentina’s record goal scorer, a record that has since been overtaken by Lionel Messi.
In an interview with FIFA he said: “I lived and breathed football. Now I have difficulty walking because of that: because I gave much more than I actually had to give.”
In 2014 Batistuta said he asked a doctor to amputate his legs to relieve intense pain in his ankles following 17 years playing professionally.
Batistuta also said that although the standard of football in Serie A has declined and been overtaken by the Premier League and La Liga, he hopes for it to recover and become the best in Europe again.
“Football now is nothing like what we played,” he said. “I hope that it’s in a period of renewal, and not just a debacle. But the football of the ’80s and ’90s was different.
“All the best players wanted to come to Italy. That hasn’t been the case for quite a while, and the level has come down a bit. They still play very tactical, very disciplined football and all that, but they lack champions, as they say themselves.
“Looking from the outside at English football, at Spanish football, it’s more interesting, and they have the champions and the celebrities that they want to see.
“But with the passion that Italians have for football, the pride that they have, I don’t think the game will stay that way. I think they’ll get back to being what they were before.”