Soccer-Uruguay hard man Montero reported to have retired

MONTEVIDEO, May 22 (Reuters) - Former Juventus and Uruguay defender Paolo Montero, regarded as one of football’s most uncompromising players, was reported by Uruguayan media on Tuesday to have retired.

However, team mates at his club Penarol said they were trying to persuade him to change his mind and complete the current season.

Uruguayan media said Montero, 35, had turned up at a training session, told them that he was leaving and said goodbye.

“It’s a tough blow to lose our captain,” Montero’s team mate Ruben Capria said in an interview on the Web site of Tenfield, who hold television rights to the Uruguayan championship.

Montero won four Serie A titles during nine years in Italy with Juventus and was a pillar in the defence, despite regularly being sent off.

He won 61 caps and scored five goals for his country and played at the 2002 World Cup, though injury forced him to miss the 1995 Copa America which Uruguay hosted and won.

After leaving Juventus, Montero spent an injury-plagued season with San Lorenzo in Argentina before returning to finish his career Penarol, the club where he was raised.