Socceroo legend Mark Bresciano has announced his retirement from international football, bringing the curtain down on an international career that places him in the upper echelon of Australia’s greatest ever football players.
Bresciano made 84 appearances in A internationals for the Socceroos, scoring 13 goals and played in three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), two Asian Cups (2007 and 2015) two FIFA Confederation Cups (2001 and 2005) and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
The 35-year-old made his debut for the Socceroos in the historic 1-0 victory over reigning World Cup Champions France at the 2001 Confederations Cup in Daegu and finished his career by playing a significant role in Australia’s glorious 2015 Asian Cup campaign.
Fans were encouraged to tweet their favourite Bresciano moments using the hashtag #ThanksBresc.
He will forever be remembered as Australia’s goalscorer in the 1-0 victory over Uruguay at Stadium Australia in 2005, which catapulted Australia to its first World Cup in 2005 following extra time and a penalty shoot out.
Bresciano’s career started in Melbourne when he played for Bulleen Veneto before a year at the AIS and two seasons with Carlton in the National Soccer League prepared him for a 12-year stint in Italy. He will continue to play club football, where he is still at the top of his game in Qatar.
Bresciano made the decision to retire from international football over the weekend after a period of reflection following Australia’s 2015 AFC Asian Cup triumph, calling Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou to deliver the news.
“It is with an element of sadness but a lot of pride that I have decided to retire from the Socceroos,” Bresciano said.
“Playing for my country in the sport I love has been an amazing experience and something I have cherished but never taken for granted.
“I have been fortunate enough to wear the Socceroo shirt at every major football tournament, meet some tremendous people, shared the highs and lows with some great players, and capped it all off by helping us win the 2015 Asian Cup.
“It has been an unforgettable journey with a lot of positive memories but I feel it is time to let this fantastic group of young players continue to take the Socceroos forward.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop, congratulated Bresciano on his contribution to Australian Football and declared FFA would work with Bresciano on an appropriate public celebration of his career.
“Australian football has a long and rich tradition around the Socceroos and Mark Bresciano retires from the international arena amongst our greats,” Gallop said.
“His on-field career has seen him excel on the biggest stages in World Football but it is his unassuming nature and pursuit of excellence that is a testament to Mark Bresciano.
“He still continues to be a good ambassador for our game through his club football overseas and we will work with Mark to ensure he receives an appropriate public celebration when he returns to Australia.”
Postecoglou also paid tribute to Bresciano for his stellar career but also the enormous role he played in helping regenerate the Socceroos over the last 14 months, culminating in claiming the 2015 Asian Cup.
“Mark’s career as an international footballer speaks for itself and places him right up there when we talk about the greats of our game,” Postecoglou said.
“His career statistics, milestones, highlights and performances in the Socceroo shirt are of the highest order and he retires from the Socceroos a true legend of our sport.
“Mark played a major part in filling the leadership vacuum in the Socceroos and was a tremendous leader of the squad and mentor to the young players who have been able to take significant steps forward over the last 14 months thanks to his professionalism and guidance.
“Along with Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill, his contribution in a leadership position has been immense.
"Bresh took on his role and responsibilities without changing who he is and how he goes about his business as a footballer.
“He leads by actions and he showed the equally unassuming but driven young players like Massimo Luongo and Trent Sainsbury how to make an impact on international football by working hard and staying true to what allowed them to get into the Socceroos shirt.
“Even during the Asian Cup when he would have liked more game time his attitude and professionalism within the group played an enormous part in the culture and spirit that drove us to be crowned Asian Champions.”
In the February issue of Australian FourFourTwo, good mate and retired Socceroo Vince Grella, described the silent asssassin as the greatest player to ever wear the green and gold.
"I actually think he is the best player ever to play for Australia or to come out of the country," Grella said.
"But when it comes from me, I think it doesn't have the right value that it should have. Everybody knows how close we are.
"But being objective and looking at the career that he had and what he's done for the country...
"And if you ask most of the junior players inside the team who they would like to have on their shoulder I have no doubt that ut of 10 players, nine and a half of them would say Mark Bresciano."