ROME: AS Roma left back Federico Balzaretti announced his retirement at the age of 33 on Wednesday, saying he had never fully got over a pelvis operation just over one year ago. "It's been a difficult decision to take, but I can't continue playing the way I want to, at 100 per cent," he told reporters. Balzaretti, who played for Italy at Euro 2012, made his only appearance last season in the final game of the Serie A campaign at home to Palermo and said he knew at the time it would be his last.

"I managed to play 90 more minutes with Roma and I'd like to thank everyone here for making that last dream come true," he said, struggling to hold back tears. "I knew Roma v Palermo at the end of May was going to be the last match of my career. I will carry it in my heart forever. I was able to play my last Roma match at the Olimpico and bring my four kids onto the pitch afterwards. It was fantastic."

Balzaretti, who began his career at Torino and also played for Juventus, Fiorentina and Palermo, said he had been given a role with the club's management team.