Soccer-Socceroos great Emerton calls it a day


Jan 16 (Reuters) - Midfielder Brett Emerton, who was part of Australia's "golden generation" and played 95 times for his country, has retired after an 18-year career that included spells in England with Blackburn Rovers and at Dutch club Feyenoord.

Emerton, who played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals, made his international debut against Chile in 1998, played his final match against Taiwan in 2012 and retires as his country's third most capped player behind Mark Schwarzer and Lucas Neill.

"It was an absolute honour to represent my country and to be able to do it for 15 years and play in two World Cups is really special," the 34-year-old midfielder said in a statement on Thursday.

"I have been fortunate enough to share in some very special moments with the Socceroos but it is hard to go past the (playoff) win over Uruguay to qualify for the World Cup in 2005."

A hard-running wide player with no little creativity, Emerton made his name in club football in Sydney before following the well-worn path to Europe to join Feyenoord, where he helped the club win the 2002 UEFA Cup.

He moved to the English Premier League with Blackburn the following year and spent nine seasons with the Lancashire club before returning home to play for Sydney FC.

"I've had a fantastic career and I was incredibly fortunate to play professional football for 18 years but I know now is the right time to call it a day," he added.

"I hope to be able to stay in the game moving forward and continue to contribute to Australian football." (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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