Sergio Parisse, the former captain and the most capped player in the history of the Italy national rugby team, he announced that this will be his last season as a professional. He said it in an interview with the French site Rugby Rama: «I will finish next June. This time it’s safe. I know that after twenty years in professional rugby there will be difficult times. I know I will miss him and I’m trying to prepare myself.”
Parisse turned 39 last September and there has been talk of his probable retirement for some time. In 2019, however, he had left the Stade Français, the Parisian team for which he had played for 14 years, and had moved to Toulon, where he had resumed playing continuously at a high level.
He is considered one of the best “number eights” ever, as in rugby we refer to players on the third center line capable of getting by almost everywhere. He is also one of the last remaining players of the older generation, as well as one of the longest-lived, with 21 seasons played in the pros.
Parisse began playing rugby in Argentina, the country where he was born and where his parents, both Italian, had moved for work. He then trained in Argentina but always played for Italy, making his debut with the senior national team at eighteen. In 2002 he was then signed by Benetton Treviso, where he remained until 2005, winning two Italian championships and an Italian Cup.
He played his best seasons between 2006 and 2017, a period in which he won the French championship twice with Stade Français and a European cup. In 2008 and 2013 he was also among the candidates for the award for best rugby player in the world.
He was due to play his last match for Italy on October 10, 2019 against New Zealand in the final group round of the World Cup in Japan. However, the match was canceled due to the arrival of a typhoon and since then, also thanks to the pandemic, Parisse has never had the opportunity to play his farewell match for the national team. However in the interview with Rugby Rama he said he was available for a possible last call-up to the Six Nations which starts this weekend.
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