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'I smoke a lot': Italian striker on why football is 'no longer for him'

Dani Osvaldo walked away from football to pursue a career in music.

The striker in action for Southampton back in 2013.
The striker in action for Southampton back in 2013.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

FORMER ITALY INTERNATIONAL Dani Osvaldo has admitted that he lacked the discipline to keep himself going in elite football, comparing his rather relaxed training methods with Cristiano Ronaldo’s obsessive preparations. 

Osvaldo represented the likes of Roma, Juventus, Southampton, Inter and Boca Juniors before hanging up his boots in favour of starting a music career. 

After playing on several occasions with Buenos Aires rock band La 25, he started up his own group in 2016, bringing out his first album as part of Barrio Viejo. 

And he confesses that the self-sacrifice needed to make it at the top never sat comfortably with his more hedonistic tendencies. 

“I am not a big fan of the daytime. I smoke a lot, I went to play football yesterday with friends and I almost choked to death,” he confided to Marca. 

“Cristiano Ronaldo likes to go home and do 150 press-ups, but I like preparing barbecues instead.

“Football gave me the chance to help my family and earn so much, that I can afford to not work again.

“It allowed me to travel and get to know different places and people. It changed my life but it also took my freedom away from me, and I can’t give up my freedom. Still, I love football and won’t deny it.”

Osvaldo last featured at the highest level for his beloved Boca in 2016, but was kicked out of the Buenos Aires giants less than six months later for allegedly smoking in the dressing room after a Copa Libertadores match against Nacional. 

But the player believes the incident was blown out of proportion, and claims his tobacco addiction was not a problem for other teams he represented. 

“I used to smoke at training camps with the Italian national team, and even the coach used to come up and ask me for a light,” he recalled. 

“[Boca coach Guillermo Barros] Schelotto, instead, threw me out of Boca because it surprised him that I smoked.

“If that bothers you, come over and say it to my face. If you want to kick a player out with the record I had when I arrived at Boca, we’ll sit down for a coffee and he can tell me ‘let’s look for the best way you can leave’, you don’t go public with the fact I smoked a cigarette. He showed no respect and he was a coward. 

“There were 12 of us who smoked but I was the one who was kicked out. He saw them. So? He told them they couldn’t do it, that’s all. He didn’t even tell me.

“But I’m glad I was smoking a cigarette at that time, because if not I would have ripped his head off: he put me on the pitch for a minute and a half in the game [against Nacional] as if I was 14 years old.”

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