Socceroo legend Mark Bresciano on Wednesday announced his retirement from international football.
The announcement brings to an end a glittering international career that spanned 14 years from 2001 to 2015 and included 13 goals, none as important as the goal he scored in the World Cup Qualifying playoff against Uruguay in 2005.
He made his debut at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup against France in Daegu, a match which Australia won 1-0.
The 35-year-old made a total of 84 appearances in the green and gold, playing in three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), two AFC Asian Cups (2007 and 2015), two FIFA Confederations Cups (2001 and 2005) and one Olympic Games (Sydney 2000).
“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 Socceroos 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.”
Bresciano started his career in Melbourne with Bulleen Veneto before spending a year at the Australian Institute of Sport, followed by two seasons with Carlton in the NSL. From there he departed Australia bound for Italy, where he spent the bulk of his career.
A three-year stint with Serie B’s Empoli was his first port of call as he helped the club gain promotion to Serie A. In the summer of 2002 he made the move to Parma for an Australian record transfer fee of €7 million. It was at Parma that he really made his name and cemented himself as an important part of the Socceroos side, making over 100 appearances for the club in four years before a move to the south of Italy, signing with Palermo shortly after the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Bresciano rounded out his time in Italy with four years at the Sicilian club, before moving to Lazio for the 2010/11 season.
Calling time on his career in Italy, Bresciano moved to Al Nasr in the UAE before moving to his current club, Qatari side Al Gharafa, in 2012.
Bresciano was a crucial member of Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos side at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, featuring in all three games.
With the emergence of a number of younger players, his playing time at the recent AFC Asian Cup was restricted, but his experience and professionalism around camp was important in helping nurture the next generation.
Postecoglou paid tribute to Bresciano for his 14-year international career.
“Mark’s career as an international footballer speaks for itself and places him right up there when we talk about greats of our game,” he said. “His career statistics, milestones, highlights and performances in the Socceroos 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 vaccuum 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.”