Antonio Di Natale is a famous Italian footballer. After being a member of the Empoli youth side since 1994, Di Natale started his professional career with the Empoli senior side in 1996, and remained with the club until 2004, aside from brief loan spells with Iperzola, Varese and Viareggio. During his time with Empoli, he helped the club to achieve Serie A promotion during the 2001–02 Serie B season, scoring 16 goals. His breakthrough came during the 2002–03 Serie A season, as he scored 13 goals in the league and helped Empoli avoid relegation. Despite being unable to find the net as regularly or save Empoli from relegation the following season, his performances and consistent goalscoring earned him a transfer to Udinese in 2004.
During his time with Udinese, Di Natale’s skill, leadership and ability to both score and create many goals played a key role in helping the club to third and fourth-place finishes in Serie A and qualify for the UEFA Champions League.In 2007, he was named the club’s captain. Di Natale’s consistent goalscoring with Udinese saw him reach double figures for nine consecutive league seasons. He won the Serie A top goalscorer award in 2010 and 2011, and was also awarded the Serie A Italian Footballer of the Year award for his performances in 2010. A late bloomer, unlike most strikers, he enjoyed his most prolific seasons in front of goal well after age 30; between 2009 and 2011, Lionel Messi (82) and Cristiano Ronaldo (86) were the only two players to have scored more league goals than Di Natale . In 2015, France Football rated him as one of the ten-best footballers in the world who are over age 36.
Di Natale is Udinese’s top appearance holder and goal-scorer in Serie A with 191 goals in 385 appearances, and in UEFA club competitions, with 17 goals in 37 appearances. With 209 goals, he is also the sixth-highest goal-scorer in Serie A, and with 311 goals, he is the eighth-highest scoring Italian player in all competitions, behind Silvio Piola, Alessandro Del Piero, Giuseppe Meazza, Luca Toni, Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Filippo Inzaghi.
At international level, Di Natale represented the Italy national team 42 times between 2002 and 2012, scoring 11 goals. With Italy, he participated in UEFA Euro 2008; the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he scored one goal; and at Euro 2012, where he also scored a goal as Italy reached the final of the tournament.
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