World Cup winner Barzagli to retire at end of season

Juventus' Andrea Barzagli, top, and Spal's Andrea Petagna vie for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Spal and Juventus, at the Paolo Mazza stadium in Ferrara, Italy, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Juventus' Andrea Barzagli, top, and Spal's Andrea Petagna vie for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Spal and Juventus, at the Paolo Mazza stadium in Ferrara, Italy, Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

FERRARA, Italy — Veteran Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli will retire at the end of the season.

Barzagli, who turns 38 next month, revealed his decision after Juve's 2-1 defeat at Spal in Serie A on Saturday.

The Italian World Cup winner has struggled with injuries this season, limiting him to just nine appearances for Juventus in all competitions.

Barzagli says: "When you are a footballer you find it hard to think about life after football, but this season's injuries helped me to understand. I've decided to quit in June."

Barzagli joined Juventus from Wolfsburg in 2011 and has won the Serie A title every season. Juventus needs only a point from its final six matches to secure an eighth straight league title.

Along with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, Barzagli formed Juventus' famed 'BBC defense' for many of those years.

They were also an integral part of the Italy team.

Barzagli made 73 appearances for Italy, helping it win the 2006 World Cup. He retired from international football after Italy's playoff defeat to Sweden saw the Azzurri fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

It has been suggested Barzagli could join Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri's staff.

Barzagli says: "I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I am attracted to various ideas in the world of football, and I will take the time to decide. I have to understand what will interest me and if I can do it well."

He adds: "Playing soccer was my dream as a child. I have to find something that gives me the same enthusiasm."

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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