Gennaro Gattuso will leave AC Milan at the end of the season after 13 years with the club. The 34-year-old midfielder met for an hour with chief executive Adriano Galliani today and afterwards announced his departure.
Gattuso said he would play on, although he does not yet know where. "The time has come to go my own way and leave space (in the squad) for others," said Gattuso. "It's only a goodbye, I will do one year somwehere else and then we will see. I don't know where I will play yet. I don't have any offers at the moment, but I'll speak tomorrow (Saturday) in a press conference."
Gattuso said he wanted to stay but only as a regular starter and he added that he was interested in taking on some other role at Milan. A couple of months ago he said he would willingly play on for free but Milan have decided the time has come to rejuvenate their squad.
Gattuso's announcement comes only a day after centre-back Alessandro Nesta, 36, said he would leave the club at the season's end, while striker Filippo Inzaghi, 38, is also leaving. Other veterans such as Clarence Seedorf, Massimo Ambrosini and Mark van Bommel all have contracts that end this summmer and will need to negotiate their futures, while Mario Yepes has signed a year extension.
At the end of last season Andrea Pirlo left but he moved on to Juventus, where he became an indispensible part of their title-winning team.
Gattuso started his career at Perugia in 1995 before moving on to Rangers in Scotland for one year. He left to join Salernitana and then moved to Milan in 1999, where he has been ever since. The fiercely combative midfielder won two UEFA Champions League crowns and two Serie A titles with Milan and was also a key member of the 2006 Italy FIFA World Cup™-winning squad.
He has played only five times this season, in large part due to a debilitating eye problem he developed earlier in the campaign that kept him out for several months. But even after he came back to fitness, he could not force his way into a midfield with the likes of Ambrosini, van Bommel, Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino ahead of him in the pecking order.