Mark Bresciano indicated he won’t finish his career in the A-League with the former Socceroos midfielder admitting he’d be reluctant to play on when he’s past his best.
The 35-year-old announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday having won 84 caps for his country, scoring 13 goals and playing in three World Cups.
He was also part of the squad that won the Asian Cup last month and the former Parma, Lazio and Palermo playmaker said the rise of the Socceroos under coach Ange Postecoglou made his decision to quit an easy one.
“I made my decision before the Asian Cup started as I thought it would be the last major tournament where I could play to my full potential,” Bresciano said.
“I was hoping we could win and finish off on a high. I am very happy with the way things went but sad to announce it because I have been a part of it so long.
“Seeing now how the team has progressed and matured in the last year or so I feel a lot more comfortable knowing they’re going to do well regardless if I’m there or not.”
Bresciano will return to his home town of Melbourne when he finishes his current contract in Qatar but said playing club football on home soil is not a burning desire.
Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, John Aloisi and Lucas Neill all struggled with injury and form when they came to the A-League in their 30s and Bresciano admits that concerned him.
“I would honestly love to come back and play in Australia. But it’s not something that I am thinking of doing,” he said.
“I wouldn’t just come home just to get on the pitch so I could finish my career in the country where I was born.
“I’d want to come back and still be able to perform. I would come back if I was still motivated and ready to go.
“I still feel I have a couple more years in me, but I don’t want to come to the point where my body tells me to stop.”
FFA chief David Gallop said Bresciano had played a huge role in the success of the Socceroos over the last decade and would be given the chance to farewell fans later this year in a World Cup qualifier.
Gallop also hinted there may be also be a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the Socceroos’ famous play-off win against Uruguay for a place in the 2006 World Cup.
Bresciano scored the goal that secured the 1-0 second-leg win culminating in John Aloisi’s famous penalty shootout spot-kick to seal the victory.
Bresciano said the moment was the best of his career.
“The best thing I can say is he is right up there (as one the best) … he was a real quiet achiever,” Gallop said.
“We would like to do something for ‘Bresh’ and a number of the other players that have retired recently,” he said.
“That qualification was such a pivotal moment for Australian football and it would be fitting to have something to mark such a major milestone.”
International caps: 84
International goals: 13
International debut: 2001, Confederations Cup v France
International honours: 2006, 10, 14 World Cup squad member, 2014 Asian Cup champion.
Clubs: Carlton (NSL), Empoli, Parma, Palermo, Lazio (Italy), Al-Nasr (UAE), Al-Gharafa (Qatar)