Kevin Muscat has announced he will retire from playing after Melbourne Victory’s Asian Champions League campaign, but won’t captain the club in his remaining matches.
It means the 37-year-old’s final A-League match will have been January’s infamous clash with Melbourne Heart, in which he was sent off for a brutal tackle on Heart’s Adrian Zahra.
The eight-match suspension handed out for that incident, which ended Zahra’s season, also ended any chance Muscat would play again this season, even if Victory reach the grand final.
Muscat, who has captained Victory from the A-League’s 2005-06 inaugural season, is the only player to have been continuously with the club from the start.
He said the frustration at being unable to do things on the field and at training that he used to be able to do had prompted his decision to retire.
“After a lot of consideration and deliberation, I kept asking myself ‘was it time?, and I realised how frustrated I’d become,” Muscat said.
“Turning up for training, not being able to do what I asked of other people throughout my career – and that’s giving 100 per cent.
“Increasingly I found I was unable to do that, and when I was able to do that, it took me a couple of days to recover.”
Muscat has played 122 A-League matches and won the Victory Medal as the club’s best player three times, including sharing it with Danny Allsopp in both of their championship seasons.
Before joining Victory, he spent a decade playing club football overseas, including an English Premier League stint with Crystal Palace, as well as captaining second-tier club Millwall to the 2004 FA Cup final, although he missed that match with injury.
Muscat also confirmed he would stand down as Victory captain for the ACL, with Adrian Leijer to lead the side through that tournament as well as during the A-League finals.
He will now become an assistant coach at the Victory, where he is contracted for the next two seasons.
Muscat rated his career highlight as the penalty he scored in the 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over Uruguay at the MCG in 2001.
by Buford Balony