Matthieu Delpierre announces retirement

Melbourne Victory Championship-winning defender Matthieu Delpierre has announced his retirement from professional football.

The 35-year-old informed the playing group on Tuesday of his decision to call time on a glittering career that has spanned 17 seasons.

Delpierre will represent Victory in its final AFC Champions League group game against Gamba Osaka next week, and in the Round of 16, should the club progress that far.

"It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I believe now is the right time to finish my career," said Delpierre.

"I want to thank everyone at Melbourne Victory for making this my home for the last two years, and I will never forget the time I spent here.

"It has been an honour to represent this club.

"My teammates have been a pleasure to play with, Kevin Muscat and the coaching staff have been extremely supportive, and the Victory fans have shown me the greatest respect.

"Hopefully, I can continue to contribute in the next few weeks and help the team qualify for the next stage of the Champions League."

Delpierre, who has made 53 appearances in all competitions for Victory over the past two seasons, is widely regarded as one of the best central defenders the Hyundai A-League has seen.

He was a key member of the team that completed the 2014/15 Premiership-Championship double, despite missing a large portion of the season through injury.

Delpierre missed just one Hyundai A-League match in 2015/16 and performed at a consistently high level throughout the campaign.

"Matthieu has been a superb contributor to Melbourne Victory over the last two seasons," said Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.

"Since the day he arrived, he has demonstrated true professionalism and provided a fine example to our playing group, both on and off the pitch.

"He has been a pleasure to coach. He will be missed by everyone at the club, but definitely not forgotten.

"We wish him all the best in his retirement and congratulate him on everything he has achieved in a fine career."

Before arriving at Victory, Delpierre was most famous for his time at VfB Stuttgart in Germany, where he won the Bundesliga in 2006/07 and captained the side for three years.

He also spent five years at French club Lille and had stints at German side Hoffenheim and Holland's FC Utrecht.

Tickets for Victory's ACL home game against Gamba Osaka on Tuesday, May 3 are available by clicking here.

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