Chilean striker Marcelo Salas retires

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SANTIAGO - Former Chile and Lazio striker Marcelo Salas, who scored a record 37 goals for his country, has retired at the age of 33. "I had a meeting today with Marcelo and he said he had decided not to carry on playing," said Universidad de Chile director Federico Valdes in a television interview on Friday. "Marcelo's last professional match was against Cobreloa the other Sunday when he scored two goals." Former Latin American Player of the Year Salas began his career at Universidad in 1994 before joining Argentina's River Plate in 1996. He helped Chile qualify for the 1998 World Cup, their first appearance in the finals for 16 years, and netted four goals as they reached the last 16, forming an excellent partnership with Ivan Zamorano. Salas then moved to Lazio where he spent three seasons and helped the Italians win Serie A. In 2001 he moved to Juventus but was plagued by injuries and his career was never the same again. Salas returned in 2003 to River Plate where he spent two seasons but continued to be troubled by injury and eventually rejoined Universidad. He equalled Zamorano's total of 34 goals for Chile in 2001 but needed another four years to break the record, finally hitting the target in a World Cup qualifier against Bolivia. Salas scored his final two international goals in a 2-2 draw in Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier last year.