'My body can't handle it anymore' – Former Inter and Italy defender Santon forced to retire

·2-min read

Former Inter and Italy defender Davide Santon has announced his retirement from playing at the age of 31 due to persistent injury issues.

The full-back had spent the past four seasons with Roma but failed to make a single appearance under Jose Mourinho in the 2021-22 campaign.

Santon was capped eight times by Italy between 2009 and 2013 and was a two-time Scudetto winner with Inter during the first of two spells with the club, either side of a three-season stint with Newcastle United.

Injuries ultimately took their toll on the defender, who announced his playing days are over in an interview with Tuttomercato published on Friday.

"I'm forced to stop playing," he said. "Not for not having had offers, not for anything else, but because my body, with so many injuries in the past, can't take it anymore.

"I didn't want to do this, but I have to. I had endless tests and consultations, but there was nothing to be done. I can still walk, but that's not enough to be a professional athlete.

"If I kept pushing, 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.

"All my injuries really came from there, because if the right knee can't bend, you put more strain on the left and the flexor. If you play one match, you risk being out of action for the next five."

Santon made just 42 Serie A appearances across four seasons with Roma and was accused by some of turning down moves elsewhere in order to continue picking up an easy wage at Stadio Olimpico.

Responding to those claims, Santon said: "I didn't turn anyone down. I was never going to pass a medical."