Arguably Serie A‘s most distinguished referee is set to hang up his whistle this summer, with Daniele Orsato calling time on his career following the 2024 European Championship.

The final game of the 2023/24 Serie A season saw Orsato take charge, with Atalanta hosting Fiorentina a week after the regular season had come to an end due to the postponement of their fixture which had been scheduled for March. The game had to be pushed back due to the two clubs’ respective appearances in the Europa League and Europa Conference League finals, and Atalanta reaching the Coppa Italia final as well.

With Orsato‘s last game in Serie A seeing him officiate Atalanta, it is a nice book-end on a top-flight career that began by refereeing a Nerazzurri game.

Daniele Orsato career: An impressive Italian referee

Orsato began his career within the professional ranks of Italian football in Serie C in 2002, before making his Serie A debut by taking charge of Siena vs Atalanta in December 2006, and earning spots as a fourth official in Champions League matches the following year.

However, it was in 2010 and his ascendancy to being named a FIFA referee that saw his career take off, with Orsato taking charge of Euro 2012 qualifying matches, as well as Serie A and continental competitions.

A decade of prominent appearances followed, with the Venetian handed the reins of the 2013 Coppa Italia final between AS Roma and Lazio and being selected as the VAR official for the 2018 World Cup final, as France overcame Croatia in Moscow.

Perhaps the pinnacle of his career came in 2020 when he took charge of Bayern Munich‘s victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final, whilst two years later he was entrusted to officiate the opening match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Referee Daniele Orsato shows a yellow card while taking charge of Juventus vs Napoli. (Photo: Getty)

Controversy and conspiracies: Orsato haunted by Derby d’Italia error

Orsato has not been without his controversies though, most notably in the 2018 Derby d’Italia in Serie A as he failed to dismiss Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic for a second bookable offence against Inter, later admitting he ought to have sent the Bosnian off for a reckless challenge.

Meanwhile, the Schio-born referee came in for criticism for his handling of Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Croatia in the semi-final of the 2022 World Cup, with Vatreni captain Luka Modric suggesting he was “one of the worst referees” and a “disaster.”

Daniele Orsato the record-breaking referee

Nevertheless, Orsato was named the best referee at the World Cup by FIFA, and his impact in domestic Italian football has seen him surpass notable figures such as Pierluigi Collina and Gianluca Rocchi for matches officiated.

Indeed, Orsato is set to end his career on 289 Serie A matches, second only to the 328 games officiated by Concetto Lo Bello.

On the continental stage, Orsato holds the record for most Champions League matches by an Italian referee.