• I’ll never forget the Aloisi night at ANZ Stadium: Emerton

16 Jan 2014

Socceroos legend Brett Emerton confirms retirement plans

Arthur Stanley

BRETT Emerton’s greatest memory of his remarkable career remains the cataclysmic moment at ANZ Stadium when a John Aloisi penality earned the Socceroos a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

As the Australian football legend announced his retirement from football today, he said the heart-stopping penalty shootout victory against Uruguay at the Sydney Olympic venue on 16 November 2005 will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“There were 83,000 screaming fans at the Stadium and 8.5 million Australians tuned in on television that night, and it’s not surprising so many people rate that moment as one of the most memorable in Australian sport,” Emerton said.

“It certainly remains a golden moment in my career.”

Emerton, 35 next month, said a chronic back injury that had forced him to have injections before games had brought forward his decision to retire.

ANZ Stadium’s football Ambassador, Emerton is the second most capped player in Socceroos history with 94 caps.

He played in the first football game ever at the Stadium in 1999 when the Socceroos played a World All Stars team in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics.

He capped his amazing career by captaining the inaugural A-League All Stars against mighty Manchester United at ANZ Stadium last July.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have had such a fantastic career, almost 18 years professionally in some of the biggest leagues in the world,” Emerton told ANZ Stadium.

“I’ve had back problems for a few years now and they have caused me a lot of problems. This is the best decision for myself, my family and the Sydney FC club going forward.

“These are exciting times indeed for football in Australia. The A-League has taken huge strides this year, the Australian Socceroos will be in another World Cup in Brazil this year, and then we host the AFC Asian Cup in January 2015.”

Emerton grew up in western Sydney, starting out with the Gunners Club, Macarthur Rams and Marconi Stallions. In a glittering career, he played 94 games for Sydney Olympic, 92 for Feyenoord in Holland, 247 for the Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League, and 57 (to date) with Sydney FC in the A-League. He played in two World Cup campaigns and scored 20 times for his country, including several vital goals in World Cup qualifiers.

Australia will host Asia’s premier international football competition, the AFC Asian Cup Australia in January 2015. ANZ Stadium is the major venue for the 32-match festival of football, playing host to the final, semi-final, quarter final and four Group matches over a three-week period.

The competition begins on Friday 9 January 2015 in Melbourne and the first match at ANZ Stadium will be on Saturday 10 January. Click here for more on the Asian Cup.