Italian Parisse to hang up his boots for good at end of season

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Italian flanker Sergio Parisse will hang up his boots for good at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 21-year professional career.

Parisse, who turns 40 in September, had already announced his plans to retire but changed his mind last year.

"I will finish next June. I know that after twenty years in professional rugby, there will be difficult moments," Parisse told French rugby website Rugbyrama.

"I know that I will miss rugby and I am trying to prepare myself for this period of my life in the best possible conditions."

The Toulon player is not in Italy coach Kieran Crowley's squad to face France in their Six Nations opener on Sunday but is still hoping for a record-extending 143rd cap.

"I haven't given up on my international career. I still think I'm on the radar and if the coach calls me I'll be happy to answer his call," the Argentine-born Parisse said.

"In the meantime, I'm trying to concentrate on the things I can control: my fitness, my lifestyle, my performances."

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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