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Ex-Blackburn, Parma midfielder Grella announces retirement

Vince Grella has called his retirement from professional football after 17 years.

The 33-year old Melbourne Heart midfielder has pulled the curtains on a career spanning almost two decades which saw him play for Australia on 46 occasions, in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and in Italy with Empoli, Ternana, Parma and Torino.

Grella joined the Heart as a free agent after he departed Blackburn in October last year and managed just one appearance - his first and last game in a Heart shirt - in the 1-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on the weekend.

"After 17 years of professional football my body has told me it's enough," Grella said.

"I need to thank John Aloisi and the club for giving me a final chance to continue as a professional.

"I felt the club's culture was the perfect place for me to be and it's frustrating I won't have the opportunity to contribute to it and to John's first steps as a coach."

Heart head coach Aloisi added: "Vince has been a brilliant contributor to Australian football for a long time.

"He deserved an opportunity to see if he could resurrect his career and we are proud that we were able to give him that chance.

"We always knew it was going to be a risk, but for me, it was certainly a risk worth taking."

Melbourne-born Grella, who made 38 Premier League appearances for Rovers, represented the Socceroos in two World Cups as well as playing close to 170 matches in Italy's Serie A.

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