Kevin Muscat has never been a quiet figure in the background at Melbourne Victory, but perhaps his comments in March gave an indication that the fight he brought to every contest was starting to wane.
As a foundation player in 2005 Muscat will leave Victory after a stellar career that includes 2007 and 2009 titles as a player and 2015 and 2018 triumphs as coach.
In that time he’s been a fierce competitor, with more than his share of brutal hits and PR misses on and off-field.
“What does it really matter what I think anyway?”
It doesn’t really matter. Slowly you get chipped away and the fight slowly gets taken away from you.”
Still, Muscat’s long career in Melbourne was never dull, with a flick through social media posts proving that his often impetuous nature ensured a host of A-League rivalries were stoked.
Possibly the most infamous of his brutal tackles is the one that felled Melbourne Heart’s Adrian Zahra and left him writhing on the ground in agony in 2011.
The incident saw Muscat immediately red carded and there’s still much debate about how badly the incident affected Zahra’s career.
You also didn’t want to get between Kevin Muscat and the ball, even if you were on the sidelines.
Adelaide coach John Kosmina copped a six-week penalty (with two suspended) after throttling Muscat after this 2006 incident in Melbourne. Muscat escaped with a yellow card.
The Melbourne Victory skipper also didn’t restrict his antics to opposition players and coaches, famously booting a ball into the head of referee Strebre Delovski in Victory’s 4-0 against the Central Coast Mariners.
For many in the stands Muscat was a player to love or hate. There was rarely any middle ground, and for Sydney FC fans the greatest moment of joy involving the Melbourne skipper was likely the 2010 grand final penalty shootout.
In this vision from behind the goals, the fans’ anticipation of a Muscat miss is palpable as the usual dead-eyed skipper lines up for the shot that would cost his team the title.
For all of the colour of Muscat’s late career poor tackles, inspirational runs and leadership as coach, his legacy will always survive in online memes – with fans of all stripes spending an inordinate amount of time pulling down or eulogising the Victory stalwart.
A lot of time has been devoted to trying to take Muscat down.
Muscat said on Monday that his decision to leave the club was not made overnight or taken lightly.
“I believe the time is right for me to refresh, and in time, seek a new opportunity after giving everything I’ve got emotionally and physically to Melbourne Victory over the last 14 years.”
No Australian football fan could doubt that.