26 Mar 2014

Australia's first world class footballer announces retirement

6:42 pm on 26 March 2014

Australia's first world-class footballer Harry Kewell will call time on his 18-year career at the end of the A-League season next month.

The former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray forward signed a one-year deal with Melbourne Heart in a bid to play in a third World Cup finals, but has spent much of the season sidelined by injury.

The 35-year-old says his last game will be on April 12th against the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Voted Australia's greatest ever footballer by fans in 2012, Kewell won 56 caps and scored 17 goals for his country.

He scored 45 goals in a 181-game stint with Leeds, before moving to Premier League heavyweights Liverpool in 2003, but a succession of serious injuries left the player and fans frustrated.

He shared in Liverpool's 2004-05 Champions League triumph, lasting 23 minutes before coming off injured.

His role in the penalty shoot-out victory over West Ham to seal the FA Cup the following year was similarly ill-fated, another injury seeing him substituted after half-time.

Kewell, nonetheless, remained revered in Australia, helping the Socceroos qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals to break a 32-year drought since their maiden appearance.