Sydney FC marquee and Socceroos legend Brett Emerton has announced his retirement, ending the career of one of Australia's greatest ever football players.
Sydney FC marquee and Socceroos legend Brett Emerton has announced his retirement, bringing down the curtain on the career of one of Australia-s greatest ever football players.
Persistent back problems have plagued the midfielder this season, keeping Emerton to a handful of appearances for the Sky Blues, but the frustrating end will take no shine off his stellar career.
Emerton enjoyed success at club and country level, playing 95 matches for the Socceroos, including appearances at two world cups, whilst also plying his trade in the Netherlands with Feyenoord and in the English Premier League with Blackburn, as well as stints with Sydney Olympic and Sydney FC to start and finish his professional career.
Emerton sits third on the list of appearances for the national team, which included the honour of being named captain five times. Emerton was an integral member the Socceroos ‘golden generation- that reached the 2006 and 2010 World Cup campaigns, playing in every match, bar the round of 16 loss to Italy in 2006.
A dashing winger in his youth, but equally adept at right back, Emerton became a mainstay for both club and country throughout his professional career which spanned 18 years and nearly 600 matches. Emerton had a penchant for dazzling goals, netting 67 goals for club and country.
His Socceroos career spanned fourteen years, beginning on the 7th of February 1998, where he debuted off the bench against Chile at Olympic Park in Melbourne.
Bar for the five matches against Manchester United, Brazil and a World Stars team in 1999, being classified as B Internationals, Emerton would have reached 100 caps for Australia.
Emerton played crucial roles in many of the Socceroos most illustrious results, memorably scoring against England in a 3-1 triumph at Upton Park in 2003.
Emerton-s final appearances for the Socceroos came in December 2012, at the East Asian Football Federation East Asian Cup Qualifiers in Hong Kong. Socceroos coach, Holger Osieck, made Emerton captain, and he led a young team with aplomb, taking home the award for player of the tournament. It would be at this tournament that he scored his final goal for the green and gold, scoring an 85th minute winner against Hong Kong, in the tournaments opening match.
Stints in Australia provided bookends to the career of the Western Sydney product, who first plied his trade for Sydney Olympic as a seventeen year old.
A man who exuded national pride, Emerton showed a fierce desire to the green and gold cause, notably rebuffing a trial with Manchester United in 1999 to focus on the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
This commitment was noted when he was given the honour to captain the Olyroos at the games.
After making an impression with his youthful exuberance on the right wing, Emerton moved overseas to play with Feyenood in the Dutch Eredivisie in 2000.
The attacking nature of the league suited Emerton, who excelled during his three seasons at the club.
His personal success was match by his team, culminating with the ultimate success in the UEFA Cup in 2002. The occasion was however bittersweet for Emerton, who missed the final through suspension.
2002 proved to be a great year personally for Emerton, capped off when he was named Oceania Footballer of the Year.
His outstanding form for Feyenood led to overtures from bigger clubs, with Emerton signing for Blackburn Rovers in August 2003.
Emerton spent the next eight seasons at the club, playing predominately down the right, either in midfield or at full back, where he scored 13 goals in 247 matches, many alongside Socceroos teammate Lucas Neill.
During his eight seasons at the club, Blackburn enjoyed tremendous success, competing in the UEFA Cup twice, whilst also making the semi-finals in the FA Cup and the League Cup. Known for his crucial goals Emerton-s strike gave Blackburn hope in the semi-final of the 2010 League Cup, however it couldn-t prevent a 7-4 aggregate defeat to Aston Villa.
In 2011 Emerton announced the final move of his career, coming back to the Hyundai A-League to play with Sydney FC. In a testament to his high esteem and character, Blackburn made Emerton Captain for his final appearance for the team, in a home match against as Everton side that included friend and Socceroo team mate Tim Cahill.
His move home alongside Harry Kewell provided fresh impetus to the A-League and provided the building blocks which have seen the competition deliver record audience figures during his time at Sydney FC.
In his three seasons in Sky Blue, Emerton played 57 times in the Hyundai A-League, scoring seven goals and was an instrumental member of the side that made the finals in 2012/13. This good form saw him announced as the inaugural Foxtel A-League All Stars captain for the match against Manchester United at ANZ Stadium.
Australia 3 England 1, February 14, 2003.
On a milestone night for Australian sport, Brett Emerton shone like a beacon and was justly rewarded with the final goal of the evening. The match was the first played in England between the countries, and the Socceroos found the perfect start, going ahead through Tony Popovic, who nodded home a floated cross from Stan Lazaridis. Harry Kewell then doubled the lead for Australia with a sublime finish. After England had pegged a goal back, the match turned into the Brett Emerton show. Playing a one-two with John Aloisi, Emerton showed all of his attributes to maraud forward before delicately finishing past Paul Robinson in the England net and seal a most famous of victories.
His battles against Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson-s team would be ever present throughout Emerton-s career, with their first meeting in 1999, when Emerton played for the Socceroos against a team that came off a season winning the Premier League, champions League and the FA Cup. Emerton shone through in both matches, earning the opportunity of a trial at the world-s biggest club. But, with the Olympics around the corner, Emerton rebuffed the trial to focus on playing for the Olyroos at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It would be 2003, before the clubs met again, where again Emerton shone, netting Blackburn-s goal in a 2-1 reverse at Old Trafford. In the penultimate round of the 2010/11 English Premier League Season, Emerton again showed Ferguson of his credentials. Playing on the right wing, Emerton delivered the game-s first goal, which momentarily put a dent in United-s title aspirations. Just as he started his career against United, Emerton would finish his career against the red devils, captaining the inaugural Foxtel A-League All-Stars in August, 2013 at ANZ Stadium.
2006 FIFA World Cup
Emerton was instrumental in the Socceroos qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup starting in both of the play-off matches against Uruguay in Montevideo and that magical night in Sydney.
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany Emerton started in all three group matches against Japan, Brazil and Croatia, but was suspended for the Round of 16 match against Italy having been sent off in the dying minutes of the final group match against Croatia for a second yellow card.
2010 FIFA World Cup
Emerton was again a key member of the Socceroos 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign playing in six of the qualification matches and scoring four goals in the process. He again started in each of the Socceroos three group matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
AFC Asian Cup 2011
Due to the fact that the majority of the AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualification matches were played on non-FIFA dates, it was difficult for Emerton to be able to available for all matches, although he did play twice during the campaign against Oman scoring one important goal in Muscat. At the AFC Asian Cup 2011 in Qatar Emerton featured significantly playing in four of the Socceroos six matches at the tournament, scoring in the 6-0 win over Uzbekistan, which saw the Socceroos ultimately finish runners-up to Japan.
Brett Emerton Born: 22-Feb-79, Sydney Socceroo honours: 100 appearances (21 goals) [1998-2012] 95 A internationals (20 goals) / 5 non-A internationals (1 goal)
All games (and goals): 1998: CHILE, KOREA REPUBLIC, JAPAN, CROATIA, UNITED STATES 1999: World Stars (1 gl), Manchester United, Manchester United, Brazil B, Brazil B 2000: PARAGUAY, PARAGUAY, PARAGUAY, COOK ISLANDS, SOLOMON ISLANDS, VANUATU, NEW ZEALAND, KUWAIT, KOREA REPUBLIC, SCOTLAND (1 gl) 2001: FRANCE, KOREA REPUBLIC, NEW ZEALAND (2 gls), NEW ZEALAND (1 gl), FRANCE, URUGUAY, URUGUAY 2003: ENGLAND (1 gl), IRELAND 2004: SOUTH AFRICA, TURKEY, TURKEY, NEW ZEALAND, FIJI, VANUATU (1 gl), SOLOMON ISLANDS (1 gl), SOLOMON ISLANDS (1 gl), SOLOMON ISLANDS (1 gl), NORWAY 2005: SOUTH AFRICA, IRAQ, INDONESIA, NEW ZEALAND, GERMANY, ARGENTINA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (1 gl), SOLOMON ISLANDS (1 gl), JAMAICA, URUGUAY, URUGUAY 2006: GREECE, NETHERLANDS, LIECHTENSTEIN, JAPAN, BRAZIL, CROATIA, PARAGUAY, BAHRAIN, GHANA 2007: DENMARK (1 gl), URUGUAY, SINGAPORE, OMAN, IRAQ, THAILAND, JAPAN, NIGERIA 2008: QATAR, IRAQ, IRAQ, QATAR (2 gls), NETHERLANDS, UZBEKISTAN, QATAR (2 gls) 2009: NETHERLANDS, OMAN, OMAN (1 gl) 2010: GERMANY, GHANA, SERBIA, SWITZERLAND, POLAND, EGYPT 2011: INDIA, KOREA REPUBLIC, BAHRAIN, UZBEKISTAN (1 gl), JAPAN, GERMANY, NEW ZEALAND, SERBIA, WALES, THAILAND, SAUDI ARABIA, OMAN, THAILAND 2012: SAUDI ARABIA (1 gl), HONG KONG (1 gl), KOREA DPR, CHINESE TAIPEI
Other Australian representative honours: U/17: 1995 U-17 World Cup (Ecuador) U/20: 1997 U-20 World Cup (Malaysia), 1999 U-20 World Cup (Nigeria) U/23: 2000 Olympic Games (Sydney)
Junior club: Campbelltown Gunners
Club career: 1996 Australian Institute of Sport 96/97 Sydney Olympic (Australia) 18 appearances (2 goals) 97/98 Sydney Olympic (Australia) 24a (3g) 98/99 Sydney Olympic (Australia) 21a (2g) 99/00 Sydney Olympic (Australia) 31a (9g) 00/01 Feyenoord (Netherlands) 28a (2g) 01/02 Feyenoord (Netherlands) 31a (6g) 02/03 Feyenoord (Netherlands) 33a (3g) 03/04 Blackburn Rovers (England) 37a (2g) 04/05 Blackburn Rovers (England) 37a (4g) 05/06 Blackburn Rovers (England) 30a (1g) 06/07 Blackburn Rovers (England) 34a (0g) 07/08 Blackburn Rovers (England) 33a (1g) 08/09 Blackburn Rovers (England) 20a (1g) 09/10 Blackburn Rovers (England) 24a (0g) 10/11 Blackburn Rovers (England) 30a (4g) 11/12 Blackburn Rovers (England) 2a (0g) 11/12 Sydney FC (Australia) 26a (4g) 12/13 Sydney FC (Australia) 22a (3g) 13/14 Sydney FC (Australia) 9a (0g)