Italian superstar Alessandro Diamanti has announced that he will retire from playing professional football at the end of the 2022/23 season.
The mercurial attacking midfielder will call time on a decorated career spanning four countries, 23 years and over 550 professional matches for club and country.
Diamanti reminisced on his outstanding playing career and paid tribute to his fans, teammates and coaches over the years.
“I am a happy man. I have always tried to be a footballer of the people, for the people. I have always followed the true values of football,” he said.
“I haven’t been a 100 trophy player, but I have been a player who felt loved, by my loved ones first and by all the thousands of people who have been following me for more than 20 years. The love that you fans have constantly always given me has been and is my greatest victory.”
Diamanti arrived at Western United in 2019, becoming the Club’s inaugural captain and immediately endearing himself to Australian football.
His magical displays earned him a clean sweep of individual awards in the Club’s inaugural season, winning the Johnny Warren Medal, the Alex Tobin Medal and the Western United Player of the Season.
The No.23 was nominated for the Johnny Warren Medal again in season two before his third season in Green and Black was cruelly ended early due to a knee injury.
Diamanti’s leadership and influence remained pivotal, though, as Western United went on to win its first ever Isuzu UTE A-League Men Championship, with the captain raising the trophy aloft alongside Josh Risdon.
In total, Diamanti has played 81 times for Western United, scoring 11 goals and registering 18 assists over that time.
Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato hailed the impact Diamanti had on the Club and celebrated the Italian’s remarkable career.
“Alessandro has had an incredible career as a footballer and will be deserving of all the applause and recognition that he receives,” he said.
“For us as a football club, Dia has been the catalyst for so much of our growth both on and off the pitch and has contributed to each of our most special memories.
“As the inaugural captain of our Club, Dia helped create the successful foundations here and will go down as a Western United legend and one of the greatest players to grace the A-Leagues.
“Italian football fans and supporters of all his clubs will celebrate and remember him fondly, and we are grateful and privileged to have had Alino represent the Green and Black of Western United FC.”
Diamanti was a fan favourite just about everywhere he went, particularly endearing himself to the West Ham United faithful after one spectacular season in the Premier League.
He began his career at hometown club AC Prato before eventually debuting in the Serie A with AS Livorno and going on to play for Bologna, Fiorentina, Atalanta and Palermo in Italy’s top flight.
Spending the 2014 season in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande, Diamanti won a league title and gained his first exposure to Australian football as his side met both Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers in their AFC Asian Champions League campaign.
Diamanti became a regular for the Italian national team in the early 2010s, playing 17 times and scoring one goal against Uruguay in the 2013 Confederations Cup Third Place Play-Off.
Three of his appearances for Gli Azzurri came at Euro 2012, where he assisted in a group game against Ireland and famously scored the winning penalty in a quarter-final shootout against England.
Diamanti will now hang up his boots and progress into the next stage of his career, leaving behind him a wealth of spectacular moments, memorable wins and positive vibes.