Ex-World Cup star who scored over 200 goals retired from football to become a semi-pro basketball player
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A former footballer who scored over 200 professional goals has retired to become a semi-professional basketball player.
During a career football career that spanned 20 years, Argentine striker Rodrigo Palacio played for the likes of Huracan de Tres Arroyos, Banfield, Boca Juniors, Genoa, Inter Milan, Bologna and Brescia.
Playing for Inter, Palacio scored 58 goals in 169 appearances for the club.
Palacio was also involved for his country, Argentina, during the 2014 World Cup where they reached the final but were beaten by Germany.
When he was released by Serie B club Brescia, Palacio wanted to continue participating in sports even at the age of 40.
As a result, he decided to ditch football to become a basketball player by signing for Polisportiva Garegnano, who are from the 4th division of Italian basketball and are based in Milan.
According to one of Palacio’s former coaches, the career change did not come as a surprise.
As per the Daily Mirror, Miguel Loffredo, who coached Palacio at one of his childhood clubs, La Falda said: “He always had in his mind that when he retired from football he was going to play basketball. What happened now is no coincidence.
“In the soccer breaks, he joined the training with the Segunda de La Falda team and played as equals. He had a lot of quality.”
In a previous interview, Palacio said he deserved to play in a stronger Inter side than he did.
He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Yes, unfortunately I didn’t experience Inter’s best period, I deserved to play in a stronger Inter. I was also the goalkeeper, against Verona, there I was unbeaten.”
Speaking about his famous hairstyle, Palacio added: “I started in 2001. It’s over 18. My daughter sometimes says to me, ‘Dad, still with the braid?’ As long as I play, it stays. And when they greet me in town saying ‘Hi, Trenza’, I love it.”