Sydney FC captain Tony Popovic has announced his immediate retirement from football.
Popovic began his professional career in the NSL with Sydney United in 1989 and went on to play 59 caps with the Socceroos as well as playing at the highest level in Japan, England and Qatar.
The central defender said it was mainly the way his body felt after matches that forced him into the decision.
“It’s pretty simple for me, at the start of the year I said to myself if ever the day comes that I feel I’ve lost control of my destiny or my body that I would stop,” said Popovic.
“With the few injuries that I’ve had this year it got to the point where I feel that I’ve lost that control and can’t now meet the high expectations I have of myself.
After the game on Friday I felt that pain coming and going throughout the match. I felt I needed to stop immediately and I think it’s the right decision.
"I think I decided straight after the game on Friday in my own mind," he explained.
“It would have been easy to get over this hamstring strain that I’ve done again, to miss a few games and come back and just hope to get through a few more games before the season finishes but that’s not the way that I do things.
“For me it’s always been that I’ve got to do things 100% in everything I do, whether it’s training, playing or looking after myself but now I’m not able to do that, that’s what my body’s telling me.”
Popovic added, “The ideal scenario would’ve been to win the league and be standing up there as captain holding the trophy, that is the ultimate way that I wanted to leave the game, but that was taken out of my hands.
“Winning the Championships is still the main goal of the club and still a goal of mine as part of the team, or part of the coaching staff now, and I want to play some part in seeing that goal achieved.
“This journey’s come to an end, a very happy one, many great memories, no regrets, and now it’s the start of a new journey in the coaching world.”