Popovic calls time on career
Sydney FC skipper Tony Popovic has called an abrupt end to his distinguished playing career - which included 58 appearances with the Socceroos - after a frustrating run of injuries.
Sydney FC skipper Tony Popovic has called an abrupt end to his distinguished playing career - which included 59 appearances with the Socceroos - after a frustrating run of injuries.
The 35-year-old announced his shock decision to walk away from the game on Tuesday cutting short his tenure with the Hyundai A-League glamour club.
An ongoing hamstring complaint has restricted the competition's most experienced central defender to just seven appearances in his second season with the sky blues.
"It's pretty simple for me, at the start of the year I said to myself if ever the day comes that I feel I've lost control of my destiny or my body that I would stop," he said.
"With the few injuries that I've had this year it got to the point where I feel that I've lost that control and can't now meet the high expectations I have of myself. After the game on Friday I felt that pain coming and going throughout the match. I felt I needed to stop immediately and I think it's the right decision."
He added: "For me it's always been that I've got to do things 100 percent in everything I do, whether it's training, playing or looking after myself but now I'm not able to do that, that's what my body's telling me."
Popovic's contract with the club was due to expire at the end of the current season.
His decorated 20-season career as a professional included stints at Sydney United, Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan), Crystal Palace (England), Al Arabi (Qatar) before linking with Sydney FC at the start of the 2007/08 campaign.
The fiery veteran was also a fixture of the Socceroos' defence for over a decade and was an important member of Gus Hiddink's 2006 World Cup squad.
Popovic - who will take up a coaching position with the club - said his one regret upon retiring would be not to be able to hold aloft the trophy at the end of the season.
"The ideal scenario would've been to win the league and be standing up there as captain holding the trophy, that is the ultimate way that I wanted to leave the game, but that was taken out of my hands," he said.
"Winning the championships is still the main goal of the club and still a goal of mine as part of the team, or part of the coaching staff now, and I want to play some part in seeing that goal achieved."
"This journey's come to an end, a very happy one, many great memories, no regrets, and now it's the start of a new journey in the coaching world."