Panucci hangs up his boots

Former Italy defender Christian Panucci has decided to hang up his boots after twice winning the UEFA Champions League.

The 37-year-old, who spent time on loan at Chelsea during a sparkling career, made his first Azzurri appearance in 1994 and notched up 57 caps before retiring from the international arena two years ago.

The versatile stopper established himself at AC Milan, winning Serie A titles in 1993-94, when he also enjoyed Champions League success, and 1995-96.

Panucci also achieved European glory with Real Madrid in 1997-98, a triumph he rates as the highest point of his career.

"The biggest achievement in my career was winning the Champions League with Real Madrid as no other Italian player had ever done it," Panucci told UEFA’s official website.

Panucci played 88 league games for Real over his three-year stay at the Bernabeu, helping them to the Primera Liga title on his debut season with the club.

The Italian began his career at Genoa, and also spent time with Inter Milan and AS Monaco, as well as a loan stint at Stamford Bridge in 2000.

A successful eight-season spell with Roma saw the stopper win the Coppa Italia twice, before concluding his club career at Parma last term having made 17 appearances for the Ducali.

On the international stage, Panucci featured in the Italy squads that won the European Under-21 title in 1994 and 1996, and also appeared at the 2002 World Cup and the 2004 and 2008 European Championships.