Article

Muscat calls time on 20-year career

16 February 2011 05:54

Former Rangers and Millwall defender Kevin Muscat has retired.

The 37-year-old confirmed his decision to hang up his boots at an emotional press conference in Melbourne on Wednesday after a professional career which has spanned more than 20 years.

The captain of A-League side Melbourne Victory cited his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game as the motivation behind his intention to call it quits in June at the end of the club's Asian Champions League group stage campaign.

It means his final A-League match was the infamous clash against Melbourne Heart, where he was sent off and handed an eight-match ban for a shocking tackle on Adrian Zahra.

Muscat's career has been dogged by controversy, usually involving on-field tackles.

Brutal challenges on Christophe Dugarry, Craig Bellamy and Matty Holmes, the last of which cost him substantially in a civil suit, saw him branded one of the most-feared defenders in England.

He broke down in tears when thanking both his Melbourne Victory team-mates and his family.

Muscat played for Crystal Place, Millwall and Wolves in England as well as Rangers in Scotland before returning home to captain Victory for the past six seasons.

He said the demands of keeping up with the rigours of training and playing in the A-League were beyond him and he could no longer maintain his high standards of professionalism.

"There has been a lot of consultation and deliberation. I've come to the conclusion it was time to go and I will be doing that at the completion of the Champions League," he said.

"I think the one word when I kept thinking about, I kept recalling how frustrated I've become. When I say frustration, it was about turning up to training and not being able to do what I've asked of other people throughout my career, to put in and give 100 percent."

"Increasingly over time I have not been able to do that. Then when I was able to do that, it took me a couple of days to recover. It was a catch 22 in preparing for football games."

"It's been over the last two years, not over the last month, two months, I've been constantly asking myself questions after the games and after training. In the last three to four months, a lot of the answers have been no. The negative side of things has built up to the frustration of not being able to do what I asked my team-mate to do," he said.

"Enough is enough and the time has come."

While his playing style has drawn plenty of criticism over his career, Muscat said he does not regret his approach to the game.

"In terms of how I am going to be remembered, I understand I've had my critics throughout my career. I consider myself to have had a successful career," he said.

Muscat played 122 A-League matches and represented the Socceroos 51 times over 12 years.

Muscat, who has already been sharing his playing duties with an assistant coaching role, is expected to become a full-time assistant next season.

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