Former Roma fullback Davide Santon – who recently announced his retirement at the age of 31 due to severe knee issues – discussed his decision to step away from football and the last year spent in the Italian capital excluded from group activities. Santon was forced to train individually at Trigoria during Mourinho’s first year at the club.
“At some point the light in me went out and I had a lot of time to think about it,” he said in an interview with Il Messaggero when recalling the moment he decided to quit the sport.
“While was excluded from Roma’s squad in my final season there and I made the decision that it was time to quit. So we met with Roma and together we decided to end our relationship. I could have even accepted one or two proposals that came my way but I wasn’t having fun anymore. And so I stopped.”
“I received proposals from Fulham, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, a couple of clubs in Spain, Turkey and I never said no. The problem is that the medical examinations would follow and that would constitute a problem for me. One day I said to [Roma General Manager Tiago] Pinto: “Sir, it’s not that I don’t want to go, but if I go they’ll send me back.”
“Mourinho was very close to me during this time, especially at the beginning,” Santon continued.
“When I was left out of the squad he often came to see my workouts. We talked, I told him that in the locker room I could help him but I couldn’t guarantee him a stable job on the pitch. I didn’t know how many games I could handle.”
“I don’t think it was Mourinho who decided to exclude me from group training. I know how hard Lorenzo Pellegrini fought to have me reintegrated, Mourinho also probably would have wanted me there last year.”
“The club made their decision and after a year of that I just didn’t recover,” he said.