Andrea Masi: Wasps & Italy back retires from the game at 35 with Achilles injury

Italian international Andrea Masi made 59 appearances in his four years with Wasps
Andrea Masi made 59 appearances in his four years with Wasps

Wasps utility back Andrea Masi has retired at the age of 35 on medical advice after suffering an Achilles tendon heel injury playing for Italy in the 2015 World Cup.

The 95-times capped international has failed to recover after being injured in Italy's opener against France.

Masi, who could play at full-back, centre, half-back and on the wing, joined Wasps from Aironi in July 2012.

He had previously played for Viadana, Biarritz and Racing Metro.

Masi was voted Six Nations Player of the Championship in 2011, the only Italian to win the award.

The loss of Masi follows the retirement of Wasps' Australian centre Ben Jacobs in May at the age of 34, after 14 years in professional rugby.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young on Masi

"It's hard to summarise the contribution Andrea has made to Wasps. His impact has been tremendous in all areas of the club. His loyalty to stick with Wasps during the tough times, when he received numerous offers to play elsewhere, will never be forgotten.

"He is one of the most genuine and considerate characters you could wish to meet. Someone who never shirks a challenge. That is what makes his enforced retirement all the harder to bear as he has worked his socks off and done everything humanly possible to come back.

Andrea Masi
Masi is the only Italian to have ever been voted Six Nations Player of the Championship - in 2011

"Andrea is the ultimate professional who epitomises what a role model should be in sport. He is hugely respected by the coaches, senior players and young players coming through. His commitment and ability in defence will be hard to match and the standards he set himself and others here are world-class. Andrea will be sorely missed at the club."

Masi on his unwanted retirement

"Rugby has been at the core of my life for the past 20 years, and it's not easy to close such an important chapter of my life. But I'm conscious that I need to follow expert medical advice and that this is the only possible way.

"Despite the recovery process progressing positively in the early stages, it didn't heal as hoped and it became clear I wouldn't be able to continue playing professional rugby.

"I'd like to thank Dai Young and all at Wasps for bringing me into their family four years ago. I'm leaving a great, healthy club. I know I'll always feel part of this family.

"I'd also like to wish, from the bottom of my heart, my thanks to the Italian team and to the head coaches who trusted in me, giving me the privilege of representing my country in the Six Nations and in four Rugby World Cups."

Italian rugby president Alfredo Gavazzi on Masi

"Andrea has been a great professional, a magnificent player, an example to follow for our youngsters. Italy will miss him a lot.

"He gave a huge contribution to the Italian jersey, helping to boost the game in our country. On behalf of the whole Italian rugby community, I'd like to thank him for his commitment, his passion and for the love he has continuously shown to the national team."