Melbourne Victory captain Carl Valeri will today announce that the 2018/19 campaign will be his last, calling time on a decorated football career for both club and country.
34-year-old Valeri departs Melbourne Victory a two-time Championship winner (2014/15, 2017/18), one-time Premiership winner (2014/15), FFA Cup Champion (2015), 2016/17 Victory Medallist and 2014/15 Players’ Player of the Season.
Valeri told the club he hasn’t taken the decision lightly, however the time was right for him and his family.
“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.”
Valeri joined Melbourne Victory in 2014 having played professionally in Italy for 10 years. Signed by Italian giants Inter Milan as a teenager, the Canberran went on to have stints at Grosetto, Sassuolo and Ternana before returning home to play in the Hyundai A-League.
He enjoyed a stellar international career and was capped at Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23 level, captaining his country at the 2001 FIFA Youth World Cup and winning selection for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
As a senior Socceroo he made 52 appearances, most notably at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup, starting each of the Socceroos’ Group Stage matches in South Africa.
Reflecting on his career, head coach Kevin Muscat drew on the values and leadership Valeri has brought to the group.
“Five years ago, the opportunity to sign Carl arose,” said Muscat.
“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.
“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.”
Melbourne Victory Chairman, Anthony Di Pietro believes Valeri has been instrumental as a leader who has brought together all facets of the club and will leave a lasting legacy.
“Carl is not only a champion player but has led from the front on-and-off the pitch for Melbourne Victory,” said Di Pietro.
“He is a humble, no-fuss man – he will no doubt play it down, but it should be known that he has made a significant impact on our club through his leadership and putting into action the values we stand for and strive to achieve.
“We thank Carl for his service, congratulate him on an outstanding career in football and wish him and his family all the best with the next chapter in life.”
The club is currently considering several options to recognize Valeri’s contribution and give the fans a chance to say farewell.