Victory skipper Valeri to retire at season's end

Melbourne Victory skipper Carl Valeri, 34, has confirmed he will retire at the end of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.

It will bring to an end an 18-year professional career that began when he graduated from the AIS as a teenager back in 2001.

He has gone on to spend more than a decade playing in Italy, before returning to the Hyundai A-League with Victory in 2014.

He also played 52 times for the Caltex Socceroos, playing all three games at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“After much consideration, the choice for me is a happy one and something I am at peace with,” said Valeri.

“I am excited and committed to play out the rest of the current season, and hopefully achieve success with the group, knowing this will be my last with the football club. 

“It has been an incredible journey for myself and my family, spanning my time at Victory and previously to that with the Socceroos and abroad.

“When I do play my last game, it will be a time of celebration and reflection on a special career and five wonderful seasons with Melbourne Victory.”

The Canberra-born midfielder, who was once signed by Serie A giants Inter Milan, spent 13 years playing in Italy.

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He had spells with SPAL, Grosseto, Sassuolo – where he earned promotion to Serie A – and Ternana.

Valeri made the move back to Victory for the start of the 2014/15 campaign, helping the club win the Premiership-Championship double in his first season.

WATCH: Valeri's best Hyundai A-League goal

He has gone on to make more than 100 appearances for the Big V, with two Championships, a Premiers’ Plate and an FFA Cup winners medal to his name.

Victory boss Kevin Muscat lauded the impact Valeri has had at the club, with his performances and leadership key to their success in recent years.

“Five years ago, the opportunity to sign Carl arose. Within that process, I spoke to other people about him and the common themes were how respectful he was and the strong family values he holds," Muscat said.

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“The respect he has shown this club and the way he has conducted himself has helped us develop great culture at Melbourne Victory.

“Importantly, the way Carl has led the group has been second-to-none and I’m extremely grateful for the support he has given me as the captain and as a person.”

Valeri has unfinished business before he hangs up his boots for good, with Victory well-placed to go back-to-back in the Hyundai A-League.

They are currently third with three rounds to play ahead of Sunday’s clash against lowly Central Coast Mariners, which will be Valeri last regular-season home game in Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory
Valeri and his Victory teammates celebrate last season's Grand Final win