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Playing through the pain

Euro-fighter Toni goes to the limit

Luca Toni managed a full hour of Tuesday’s Fiorentina clash before signalling to the bench it was time for him to come off. He shook hands with former team-mates Adrian Mutu and Riccardo Montolivio, before sending Lukas Podolski into the fray in his place. The Allianz Arena crowd rose to its feet to acclaim the Italian’s gutsy display.

“I played until it was too painful,” Luca explained afterwards. Bayern against Fiorentina, the club for whom he scored 47 goals in 67 league matches between 2005 and 2007, was billed as Toni’s special match, but the 31-year-old was a doubtful starter until just before kick-off after bruising ribs in a weekend Bundesliga outing. However, the striker had no intention of missing out, gritted his teeth and played through the pain.