Iconic Portsmouth Great Escape hero finally hangs up his boots aged 41 after glorious career across six countries

He was a talismanic figure in Pompey’s remarkable Great Escape – and has now hung up his boots at the age of 41.

Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 2:00 pm

Andres D'Alessandro made just 13 appearances for Pompey, yet remains a player much-revered by the Fratton faithful.

The Argentine international arrived on the south coast in January 2006, recruited alongside Pedro Mendes, Benjani, Dean Kiely, Sean Davis and Noe Pamarot to bolster the Blues’ battle to remain in the Premier League.

A loan signing from Wolfsburg for the rest of the season, D’Alessandro was a class act as Harry Redknapp’s men somehow avoided relegation.

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There was a sublime goal at Charlton in April 2006, albeit in a 2-1 defeat, yet the classy attacker’s overall contribution was a significant one, establishing himself as a Pompey icon.

Now, almost 16 years after winning at Wigan to stay in the Premier League, D’Alessandro has announced his retirement.

Just days following his 41st birthday, he turned out for Brazilian side Internacional against Fortaleza on Sunday for his farewell.

Fittingly, he scored, while received a standing ovation from supporters at a packed Beira-Rio following a 2-1 victory.

The 41-year-old Andres D'Alessandro is lifted by Internacional team-mates at the end of his last match as professional footballer on Sunday. Picture: SILVIO AVILA/AFP via Getty Images

During two Internacional spells, D’Alessandro totalled 490 games and 90 goals, winning six Brazilian league titles, while was awarded citizenship in 2020.

Previously he represented Argentina 25 times, scoring three times, and was part of the side which won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

A former pizza delivery driver from Buenos Aires, D’Alessandro began his career at River Plate before moving to German club Wolfsburg in 2003.

He was loaned to Pompey in January 2006, making his debut in a midweek 1-1 draw with Bolton at Fratton Park.

Andres D'Alessandro featured 13 times for Pompey during his 2006 loan spell. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS

The attacker proceeded to play a pivotal role in the Great Escape and started every match as Redknapp’s men amassed 20 points from a possible 27 to stay up.

At the season’s end he returned to Wolfsburg, who loaned him to Real Zaragoza, before returning to South America in 2008 at San Lorenzo.

D’Alessandro then spent 12 years at Internacional, before spells at River Plate, Nacional (Uruguay), and then back at Internacional for a second spell.

On Sunday, he marked his farewell with a first-half goal and a booking, before substituted in the 72nd minute.

Andres D'Alessandro, right, celebrates his goal in Pompey's 2-1 defeat at Charlton in April 2006. Picture: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

And a stoppage-time winner from team-mate Alexandre Alemao capped the occasion, with D’Alessandro carried aloft by Internacional after the final whistle.

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