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Di Natale ends soccer career with hat trick, bringing about 3-3 draw

Antonio Di Natale scored a hat trick to help Udinese draw 3-3 against Sampdoria in its last Serie A match on Saturday, then announced he was going back on his decision to retire this year.

The 36-year-old said a few months ago he would hang up his boots at the end of the season, but has since changed his mind.

“It's a pity the season is ending now, as I am in good physical shape and enjoying myself,” Di Natale said. “Let's hope I continue like this.

“At the start of the season, the whole team struggled to do what we'd been able to in three years together. But you weigh things up at the end, and I still got 17 goals in the league.”

Stefano Okaka headed Sampdoria into an early lead, but Di Natale leveled with a magnificent free kick into the top near corner, and the former Italy striker side-footed in Roberto Pereyra's cross in the 33rd after good work by his teammate.

The match changed in two second-half minutes. First Eder beat the offside trap to roll Okaka's through ball past Udinese goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic, before Roberto Soriano gave Samp the lead from a tight angle.

Di Natale completed his hat trick in bizarre fashion two minutes from time after Sampdoria substitute Pawel Wszolek sent a backpass from the halfway line straight to the Udinese forward for his 193rd Serie A goal.

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