Antonio Di Natale
|Full name||Antonio Di Natale|
|Date of birth||13 October 1977|
|Place of birth||Naples, Italy|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1997–1998||→ Iperzola (loan)||33||(6)|
|1998||→ Varese (loan)||5||(0)|
|1998–1999||→ Viareggio (loan)||25||(12)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
A versatile striker with a lethal eye for goal, Di Natale can play anywhere in the front line, as a lone striker or out wide in an attacking trident. He is notable for his technical skills and for his ability to score and create goals. Di Natale earned the prestigious award of being the Serie A 'Capocannoniere' for the 2009–10 season, as well as the 2010–11 season.
Personal life 
Also known as Totò, Di Natale was born in Naples on 13 October 1977 to Salvatore, a professional painter, and Giovanna. He has two brothers, Paolo and Carmine, and two sisters, Michela and Anna. While playing for Empoli, at the age of nineteen, Di Natale met his future wife, Ilenia Betti, whom he married on 15 June 2002; the couple have two sons together, Filippo and Diletta. In August 2010, he rejected a transfer to Italian giants Juventus because his children had grown up in Udine and his family was settled and enjoyed living there.
Di Natale took financial responsibility of the disabled sister of Udinese teammate Piermario Morosini, who died on 14 April 2012 when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest while playing on loan for Livorno. Morosini's death left his sister with no other living relatives.
Club career 
Despite being born in Naples, Antonio Di Natale made the move north for his footballing career, joining Empoli's youth system. While at Empoli he was loaned out three times, enjoying succes with Viareggio in the 1998–99 campaign, where he scored 12 goals in 25 games for the Tuscan side. Upon his return to his parent club, Di Natale finally made his breakthrough into the first team squad and established himself as an integral member of the side. He netted six times in 25 appearances for Empoli during the 1999–2000 campaign, as Empoli finished in ninth place in Serie B.
Empoli won promotion to the Serie A in 2002, finishing in fourth place on 67 points. They finished with 60 goals, the largest tally in the competition, and Di Natale finished as the club's top goalscorer with 16 league goals. In Empoli's first season back in the topflight, Di Natale helped the club fight off relegation by netting 13 times in the league. This included a hat-trick in Empoli's 4–2 defeat of Reggina on 17 November 2002. Following two seasons in the Serie A, Empoli were relegated back to the Serie B at the end of the 2003–04 campaign.
After Empoli were relegated, Di Natale joined Udinese for the 2004–05 Serie A season. In Udine, Di Natale partnered with Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Di Michele in attack, and the Friulian club finished 4th place at the end of the season and qualified for the Champions League for the following year. In his debut season with Udinese, Di Natale played 33 games and scored seven goals.
In the 2007–08 season, Di Natale scored 17 goals. The two most notable goals were scored on matchday 4, when Udinese played against Reggina. He scored a brilliant lob in the 5th minute and a terrific volley in the 63rd with his unfavored left foot. Forming a formidable attacking duo with Fabio Quagliarella, Di Natale improved his goal tally, becoming the focal point of the attack. In 2007, he was named captain of Udinese and his contract was extended to 30 June 2012.
May 2010 saw the conclusion of Di Natale's best-ever season, scoring 29 goals in Serie A, and contributing 54% of Udinese's total goals. He also surpassed Oliver Bierhoff's club record for most league goals in a season, who had scored 28. A brace against Bari on 9 May 2010 saw Di Natale surpass the 100 goal mark in Serie A. For his performances, Di Natale was voted Italian Footballer of the Year and finished as the top scorer in Serie A. He also received the Serie A Fair Play award, for interrupting play in a match while Lazio's Libor Kozák was injured, with Udinese down 3–2 late in the game. The 2009–10 season saw Di Natale finish as runner-up for the European Golden Shoe with Chelsea striker Didier Drogba on 29 goals, five behind Barcelona player Lionel Messi.
On 14 November 2010, he scored a hat-trick during a match against Lecce and on 28 November, he scored a second consecutive home hat-trick during a match against hometown club Napoli. On 8 May 2011, Di Natale struck two first half goals to give Udinese a 2–1 victory over Lazio and into fourth place, with two games remaining. Despite Di Natale missing a late penalty, with a 0–0 draw against champions AC Milan on the final day, Udinese secured fourth place and a spot in the playoff round of the Champions League. During the 2010–11 season, Di Natale had the best strike rate of any player in Italy, scoring 28 goals in 36 games with a strike rate of 0.78 goals per game. This was also the third best strike rate in Europe, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
On 23 October 2011, Di Natale netted a brace in a 3–0 defeat of Novara which sent Udinese to the top of the Serie A standings. On 13 May 2012, Di Natale opened the scoring against Catania on the final matchday of the Serie A season and Diego Fabbrini added a second-half strike to secure four straight Serie A victories and ensure Udinese a place in next season's Champions League qualifying round. On 4 July 2012 he signed a new 2-year contract with the club.
Di Natale's first goal of the Serie A season came on 16 September when he scored Udinese's second goal within five minutes of the start of the game, but a red card to Andrea Lazzari and two lates goals from AC Siena condemned Udinese to a 2–2 draw. On 6 January 2013, Di Natale notched a brace as Udinese downed 10-man Inter Milan 3–0, lifting Udinese to eighth in the table. In Udinese's next league match on 13 January, Di Natale scored two more goals as his side defeated Fiorentina 3–1 to extend their streak of five unbeaten Serie A matches. Di Natale scored his 150th Serie A goal for Udinese on 3 March, converting from close range after a cross from Luis Muriel, securing a 1-0 victory at Pescara. In a league match against Chievo Verona on 7 April 2013, Di Natale scored a sublime volley which bears a striking resemblance to the one Francesco Totti netted against Sampdoria and voted as goal of the season in 2006.
International career 
Di Natale made his debut with the Italy national team on 20 November 2002, in a friendly match against Turkey. He won few caps in later years, scoring his first goal on 18 February 2004 in a friendly match against the Czech Republic, a game which ended in a 2–2 draw.
Euro 2008 
In 2006, he regained a spot with the Azzurri under new coach Roberto Donadoni, and was involved in the Euro 2008 qualification campaign. He was then called up to Euro 2008, where he missed a crucial penalty during the quarter-final penalty shoot out against Spain who went on to win 4–2. He missed the 2009 Confederations Cup because of a knee injury, which occurred on 28 March 2009 in an international match against Montenegro.
2010 World Cup 
Di Natale took part at the 2010 World Cup where he was given the number 10 shirt. Italy was placed into Group F at the finals, drawing their first two group games by a score of 1–1 to Paraguay and New Zealand respectively. In their final group game on 24 June 2010 he scored a goal in the 3–2 defeat against Slovakia which resulted in Italy finishing bottom of its group.
Euro 2012 
In 2012, Di Natale was included in the squad for Euro 2012, and after coming on in the first match against Spain he scored the opening goal in a 1–1 draw, shooting right footed past Iker Casillas after a pass from Andrea Pirlo. It was the only goal that Spain conceded during the whole tournament. Italy reached the final of the tournament on 1 July at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv when they lost to Spain 4–0.
Following the tournament, Di Natale retired from international football with eleven goals from 42 games for the Azzuri.
International goals 
- Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
|1.||18 February 2004||Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo||Czech Republic||2–1||2–2||Friendly|
|2.||15 November 2006||Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo||Turkey||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|3.||22 August 2007||Ferenc Puskás Stadium, Budapest||Hungary||1–0||1–3||Friendly|
|4.||12 September 2007||Olympic Stadium, Kiev||Ukraine||1–0||2–1||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|6.||30 May 2008||Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence||Belgium||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|8.||6 September 2008||Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca||Cyprus||1–0||2–1||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|10.||24 June 2010||Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg||Slovakia||1–2||2–3||2010 World Cup|
|11.||10 June 2012||PGE Arena Gdańsk, Gdańsk||Spain||1–0||1–1||Euro 2012|
Career statistics 
- As of 5 May 2013
See also 
- "Italy – Serie A Top Scorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Prandelli lauds Di Natale impact". FIFA. Agence France-Presse. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "I baby vip azzurri!" (in Italian). Leiweb. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Di Natale: 'Juve? No, grazie'". Calcio Mercato. 26 May 2012.
- "Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale to look after disabled sister of Piermario Morosini following player's death". Telegraph. 16 April 2012.
- "Serie B TIM 2001–02". Lega Serie B. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Serie A TIM 2002–03". Lega Serie A. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Empoli 4–2 Reggina". ESPNFC. 17 November 2002.
- "Serie A TIM 2003–04". Lega Serie A. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Serie A 2004–05". Lega Serie A. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Graeme Bailey (29 July 2007). "Di Natale signs on". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "CALCIO, UDINESE: IN QUATTRO RINNOVANO FINO AL 2012". la Repubblica (in Italian). 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Serie A Statistics 2010 Season". WhoScored.com.
- Udinese.it – Antonio Di Natale awarded Best Italian Player 2009/2010
- "Golden Boot ("Soulier d'Or") Awards". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "European Golden Shoe". European Sports Magazine. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "Di Natale treble downs Lecce". FIFA. 14 November 2010.
- "Serie A Round-Up: Antonio Di Natale Bags A Hat-Trick To Take Down Napoli". Goal. 28 November 2010.
- "Di Natale at the double". ESPNFC. 8 May 2011.
- "Udinese 0–0 AC Milan". ESPNFC. 22 May 2010.
- "The Golden Shoe and Espadrille". Soccer AM. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "Udinese 3–0 Novara". ESPNFC. 23 October 2011.
- "Catania 0–2 Udinese". ESPNFC. 13 May 2012.
- "Eterno Capitano bianconero: Di Natale rinnova fino al 2014!" (in Italian). Udinese Calcio. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Siena 2–2 Udinese". ESPNFC. 16 September 2012.
- "Di Natale downs 10-man Inter". ESPNFC. 6 January 2013.
- "Serie A Round 20 Results: Lazio & Napoli keep up pressure as Roma & Fiorentina suffer away-day misery". Goal. 13 January 2013.
- "US Pescara 0-1 Udinese". ESPNFC. 3 March 2013.
- "Antonio Di Natale scores Totti-esque volley vs Chievo". inside World Soccer. 8 April 2013.
- "ITALY 2 – 2 CZECH REPUBLIC". SoccerWay. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- "Casillas' saves put Spain in semis". UEFA. 22 June 2008.
- "Antonio DI NATALE". FIFA. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- "World Cup 2010: Italy exit as Slovakia turf out reigning champions". The Guardian. 24 June 2010.
- "Spain 1–1 Italy". BBC Sport. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Spain 4 Italy 0: Silva, Alba, Torres and Mata the heroes as La Roja create history in Kiev". Daily Mail. 1 July 2012.
- "Di Natale: "I did think about retiring I'm not going to Euro 2012 to be on holiday"". La Gazzetta dello Sport. 22 May 2012.
- "Antonio Di Natale – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Includes Coppa Italia
- Counts for appearances and goals at the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup. Including qualifying games.