| PHOTO: Jim Webster |
Former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart midfielder Vince Grella fronted the media this morning to announce his retirement from professional football, because the 33-year-old thought it was the right time to stop after his body had enough.
“I’m pretty happy with my decision. I had a couple of days to think about it and I’m lucky to have had a good family and a strong family behind me, and good friends I’ve been able to talk to, and I made the decision that I couldn’t go on anymore playing and considering I had a good innings it was the right time to stop, “ Grella told the press this morning at La Trobe University.
Grella was obviously disappointed that he couldn’t continue after many hours of hard work in making his comeback, but the former Parma man thought he did everything he could.
“It was a crushing blow, but I had done everything in my power to give myself the best possible chance to be successful and when I realized I couldn’t be successful anymore I made the decision not to play on. I wasn’t going to keep fighting the fact that I couldn’t keep playing anymore,” Grella said.
Grella’s had plenty of highlights in his career, which took the Melburnian to Italy with Empoli, Parma and Torino before moving onto the Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League. However the highest highlight was the penalty win over Uruguay in 2005 that sent Australia to the 2006 World Cup.
“My first one (highlight) would be the game against Uruguay in Sydney. I think for me that was the biggest and most enjoyable game of my career and also the first game in Italy, which was a childhood dream,” the former Carlton midfielder said.
But there was also some lowlights and Grella believes retiring on this note is the lowest.
“Probably ending in this way and maybe not ending because of a lack of passion or lack of enjoyment of playing football, but a physical problem that doesn’t allow you to compete anymore. That’s probably what leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth,” Grella explained.
The injury-plagued midfielder still doesn’t know what chapter he’ll open next, but is definitely going to stay in Football.
“For me now it’s just about getting back to the family and having a couple months off to freshen up in the mind.
“I’ll definitely stay in the game, I’m just not sure what I’m going to do yet.”
Grella’s played with and against plenty of stars over his great career with Zinedine Zidane being the best opponent and Mark Bresciano being the best greatest of teammates.
“[Zinedine] Zidane was the best player I’ve played against. I caught him off the back of the World Cup in 98 and I’ve never seen anybody control the ball like him.
“Best player I’ve played with…Mark Bresciano.”
Grella finished off his this morning’s press conference thanking the Heart for one last chance.
“I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank the club, the Melbourne Heart, for giving me the last opportunity, the Chairman Peter Sidwell, the Board, Scott Munn the CEO, John Didulica who had a big part in bringing me over, and my old mate John Aloisi,” a grateful Grella said.