Former Italy striker Christian Vieri has left Atalanta after storming out of training during the week, the Serie A club said.
The 35-year-old, who has hardly featured this term because of injury and lack of form, reacted furiously after being jeered by fans at the training session. His contract was up at the end of the season and media has speculated he may now retire.
“Atalanta announce that Christian Vieri has expressed a wish to terminate his contract with the club early. Atalanta, taking note of the wish of the player, have agreed,” a club statement said.
The much-travelled forward, who had his most successful spells at Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan, had struggled to regain the trust of Atalanta fans after he quit the Bergamo club two years ago to join Fiorentina, only to return in June.
The 35-year-old was in his third stint with the Bergamo-based team but failed to make much impression this season, starting just three matches and scoring only two goals in his nine appearances for the Nerazzurri.
Vieri had played even fewer matches in his previous stint at the club two years ago and he angered fans when he promptly left to join Fiorentina having spent most of the season on the sidelines while picking up a big salary.
And as fans became increasingly frustrated with the former Italy striker this season they began to make their feelings known vociferously, leading to their parting of the ways.
“I want to thank Atalanta for the way they have dealt with me throughout the season and throughout my previous experiences wearing the black and blue shirt,” said Vieri on the club’s official website.
Atalanta president Alessandro Ruggeri said:
“I’m disappointed as I’m sure everyone who loves football is. I don’t know what he will do now, whether or not he will continue to play after this experience with Atalanta. But I’m sure he’s very bitter. I haven’t spoken to him yet but others of my colleagues have and he was adament, I don’t think there was any way to make him stay.”
Vieri has changed clubs 13 times over a career that began in 1991 and took him to Spain with Atletico Madrid and France where he played for Monaco. He played for Italy’s three biggest teams and had his best season in 2002-03 when he scored 24 goals in 23 league matches for Inter.