Frustrated Muscat bows out

Retiring Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat has cited his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game as the motivation behind his intention to call it quits in June.

Retiring Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat has cited his growing frustration at his inability to keep pace with the game as the motivation behind his intention to call it quits in June.

The 37-year-old confirmed his pending retirement at an emotional press conference in Melbourne on Wednesday after a professional career which has spanned over 20 years.

He said the demands of keeping up with the rigours of training and playing in the Hyundai A-League were beyond him and he could no longer maintain his high standards of professionalism.

"There has been a lot of consultation and deliberation. I've come to the conclusion it was time to go and I will be doing that at the completion of the Champions League," he said.

"I think the one word when I kept thinking about, I kept recalling how frustrated I've become. When I say frustration, it was about turning up to training and not being able to do what I've asked of other people throughout my career, to put in and give 100 percent."

"Increasingly over time I have not been able to do that. Then when I was able to do that, it took me a couple of days to recover. It was a catch 22 in preparing for football games."

Muscat's decision puts an end date on one of the greatest football careers in Australian history, with the round of 16 match for the AFC Champions League most likely to be his final match for his beloved Victory.

In a gesture of support for Adrian Leijer as the future on-field leader of the club, he has relinquished his captaincy for the Asian Champions League.

He broke down in tears when thanking both his Melbourne Victory team-mates and his family.

Muscat played football for Crystal Place, Millwall and Wolves in England as well as Rangers in Scotland before returning home to captain Victory for the past six seasons.

He also represented the Socceroos 51 times in a career he said was a 'great journey'.

Muscat's career has been dogged by controversy, usually involving on-field tackles. His final involvement as an A-League player was a horror tackle on Melbourne Heart's Adrian Zahra in the Melbourne derby which saw him receive an eight-match ban.

Brutal tackles on Christophe Dugarry, Craig Bellamy and Matty Holmes, the last of which cost him substantially in a civil suit, saw him branded one of the most-feared defenders in England.

But Muscat said that the Zahra incident wasn't the driving force behind his decision to retire, saying it was something he had been considering for months.

"It's been over the last two years, not over the last month, two months, I've been constantly asking myself questions after the games and after training. In the last three to four months, a lot of the answers have been no. The negative side of things has built up to the frustration of not being able to do what I asked my team-mate to do," he said.

"Enough is enough and the time has come."

While his playing style has drawn plenty of criticism over his career, Muscat said he doesn't regret the manner he has approached his football.

"In terms of how I am going to be remembered, I understand I've had my critics throughout my career. I consider myself to have had a successful career," he said.

"What brought me that career was that playing on the edge and that winning attitude. For that I'm not going to apologise, I don't regret it. What I will say, that in trying to achieve more success, I've got to admit that I have erred. There are situations and times that I do regret."

"But not for a moment am I going to sit back and think maybe I should have changed things. I am who I am and I suppose that's the way I'll be forever."

Muscat will assume assistant coaching responsibilities full time when he retires, with current coach Ernie Merrick saying there was no doubt Muscat would be successful in football management.