Heart-felt farewell for Melbourne pair

He's scored goals in Italy, Spain and England's top leagues - not to mention the World Cup - but you get the feeling John Aloisi's final professional goal will live long in his memory.

He's scored goals in Italy, Spain and England's top leagues - not to mention the World Cup - but you get the feeling John Aloisi's final professional goal will live long in his memory.

Aloisi scored the 117th and final goal of his club career in Melbourne Heart's 2-2 draw with Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

But when his customary left-foot guided the ball into the net on 62 minutes, it gave 10-man Heart a 2-1 lead, sparking a celebration much like the one following his penalty that booked Australia's place at the 2006 World Cup.

"It was the moment, I thought that might have been the goal to win the game," Aloisi said.

"I was excited, the last game and I didn't care that I was going to get a yellow card (for taking off the shirt)."

"I'd thought about it during the week and thought if I scored a special goal, and at the time it felt special, I'll take it off."

Aloisi was not the only former Socceroo star to bow out in front of 6019 people, with midfielder Josip Skoko bringing down the curtain on his fine career.

In a game full of memorable moments, Skoko gave away what appeared a dubious penalty in the first-half, duly converted by Sydney's Nick Carle.

But, as he has done with a minimum of fuss during a career highlighted by 51 caps for the Socceroos, Skoko got on with the job and earned a standing ovation when substituted in the 70th minute.

"It's fantastic to finish in your hometown, in front of your family and all the fans after the year we've had at the Melbourne Heart in the inaugural season, it was a lovely send-off," Skoko said.

Aloisi described the emotions he felt when he came off on 82 minutes, also given a standing ovation before hugging his brother Ross who on the sideline in his role as a Fox Sports commentator.

"I've had a tear in my eye all day, I've never felt like this before," Aloisi said.

"To go out in that way with the fans clapping you, I can't thank the Melbourne Heart people enough - I really enjoyed this season and it's a good way to go out."

"What I'll miss the most about playing is being in the changing room with all my team-mates, John (van 't Schip) might tell me different, but I think that when you've got only two or three people around you, it's not the same as 20 guys around you."

Asked about their immediate futures, both Aloisi and Skoko, who first met each other as 16-year-olds at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, agreed on one thing - "no more ice baths".

Aloisi will stay involved at the Heart as coach of the club's youth team in 2011-12, while Skoko says he will take a step back from the game professionally for an interim period.

But quizzed on whether there would be a return to home club North Geelong in some capacity, Skoko replied: "North Geelong is always on the radar."


Josip Skoko

Born: 10 December 1975.

Clubs: North Geelong (32 games, 8 goals), Hajduk Split (161 games, 21 goals), Genk (100 games, 8 goals), Genclerbirligi (58 games, 4 goals), Wigan Athletic (45 games, 0 goals), Stoke City (9 games, 2 goals), Melbourne Heart (22 games, 0 goals)

Socceroos record: 51 caps, 9 goals.

John Aloisi

Born: 5 February 1976

Clubs: Adelaide City (1 game, 0 goals), Standard Liege (0 games, 0 goals), Royal Antwerp (35 games, 7 goals), Cremonese (48 games, 4 goals), Portsmouth (60 games, 25 goals), Coventry City (41 games, 10 goals), Osasuna (121 games, 28 goals), Deportivo Alaves (57 games, 16 goals), Central Coast Mariners (15 games, 7 goals), Sydney FC (40 games, 12 goals), Melbourne Heart (20 games, 8 goals).

Socceroos record: 55 caps, 27 goals.