Italy legend Alessandro Zanni bowed out in the colours of his beloved Benetton after more than 15 years at rugby’s top table.
The back-rower was given a guard of honour by team-mates and the opposite numbers of Zebre as the Guinness PRO14 restarted with an emotional occasion in Italy.
Zanni played his final game of rugby without a crowd as Benetton were beaten 16-13 by Zebre at Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
Italian internationals Tommaso Boni and Jimmy Tuivaiti scored a try each and Carlo Canna kicked five points as Zebre triumphed on the league’s resumption.
Zanni announced his retirement in June and his intention to stay on for a final appearance for the club he has called home since 2009.
The 36-year-old featured 54 times for the Azzurri in the Guinness Six Nations and his final international cap came against Scotland in Rome in the 2020 Championship.
The versatile forward made his Italy debut in 2005 and played in four Rugby World Cups.
He will continue to influence his country’s next generation as he retires to a coaching role in Kieran Crowley’s staff in Treviso.