Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso will retire from international football after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The 32-year-old AC Milan player, who helped Azzurri to FIFA World Cup glory in Germany four years ago, struggled with knee injuries in the 2009/10 season and feels it is time to step aside.

"To wear this jersey is the most beautiful thing there can be," he said. "But, being almost 33, it's right to leave space to the youngsters. After the World Cup, I will retire from the national team. One dream does remain and that is to one day be able to coach this team."

To wear this jersey is the most beautiful thing there can be. But, being almost 33, it's right to leave space to the youngsters.

Gennaro Gattuso, Italy midfielder

The combative midfielder was expected to be a substitute for Italy in South Africa, but could start against Paraguay on Monday with Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi doubtful through injury.

"I'm here to lend a hand," said Gattuso. "I am available to play. If we won in Germany four years ago it was because we were 23 players with just one mind."

Gattuso has been capped 70 times for his country since making his debut with the senior side in 2000.