Skoko to hang up his boots

Former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart midfielder Josip Skoko has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the current Hyundai A-League season.

Former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart midfielder Josip Skoko has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the current Hyundai A-League season.

Skoko announced on Thursday that his decorated club career, which has seen him play in Belgium, Croatia, Turkey and England, as well as Australia, would come to a close.

The 35-year-old said a combination of factors had led him to decide to hang up the boots just one year after he decided to return home to play for Heart in their inaugural campaign.

"I've decided to call it a day at the end of the season due to a combination of factors from old age to family reasons. Putting it all together, I feel like it is the right time to end my professional career and move on," he said.

"I've always said that I don't want to find myself in a position where I can't be giving it my best every week, and I feel that while I'm still contributing and playing some good football, it-s time to hang up the boots."

Skoko represented Australia on 51 occasions and captained his country four times. He was part of the 2006 World Cup squad and scored a memorable winning goal against Greece at the MCG in the lead-up to that tournament.

But Skoko's greatest efforts came at club level where he became a legend at clubs such as Genk, Hadjuk Split and Wigan Athletic.

His current coach John van 't Schip praised Skoko's skill and experience.

"While I only coached Josip for a year, in that time I have understood why he has had such a great career. He's a real professional, he loves football, and he's a purist," he said.

"He still enjoys playing and I think that's the main reason why he still at this age is performing at a high level. Josip is a player who has grown as a person in the game; he experienced a number of different types of cultures, playing in Belgium, Croatia, Turkey and England."

"And you can see he brought this experience with him to our club, and especially for the young boys, he was a very good example to show what it means to be a professional football player."

Skoko's much-anticipated return to the A-League has not panned out as he would have wished. He has featured in just 20 matches, with soft-tissue injuries preventing him from reaching his peak.