Aloisi Eagerly Anticipating Final Match

Retiring Melbourne Heart FC star John Aloisi says he is looking forward to stepping onto the pitch one last time during Saturday night’s Hyundai A-League match against Sydney FC at AAMI Park.

Retiring Melbourne Heart FC star John Aloisi says he is looking forward to stepping onto the pitch one last time during Saturday night-s Hyundai A-League match against Sydney FC at AAMI Park.

The Australian football legend will call time on his playing days following the encounter, bringing an end to a 20-year professional career which has yielded over 27 goals in 55 international appearances, making Aloisi the second highest goal scorer in Socceroo history.

Having joined Heart on a one-year deal with a view to making the transition into coaching next season, when Aloisi will take charge of the Club-s inaugural National Youth League side, the 35-year-old striker said he always intended for the 2010/11 campaign to be his last as a professional.

“When I initially discussed signing with Melbourne Heart FC, I wasn-t 100 per cent sure I wanted to play on. But John van ‘t Schip guaranteed me he would do everything possible to make it an enjoyable year and felt I still had what it takes to play one more season,” he said.

“I decided on playing on but I knew it was going to be my last year. I did everything possible to ensure my body would be right when I had to play, but it-s a lot of hard work that happens off the pitch that people can-t see, and I couldn-t handle doing another year of that, so I thought this will be it.”

Aloisi has proven to be a shining light through his final season, leading Heart-s scoring charts with seven goals in only 16 starting appearances to reinforce his reputation, while ensuring his legacy at the Club by scoring three times against Victory, including the inaugural Derby showdown.

Head Coach John van ‘t Schip said Aloisi was an outstanding performer throughout his final campaign as a player.

“John has a very positive energy around him, and this season, he produced more than what we believed his body would allow him to achieve,” he said.

“He worked incredibly hard to ensure he was fit for this season and was very influential throughout the year, scoring some unbelievably important goals, such as the last minute winner against Adelaide United in December.

“We are delighted to have him on our coaching staff for next year as he-s an exceptional player and person, but we are certainly going to miss his presence on the field and in the dressing room.”