Grella calls time on illustrious career

Retiring Melbourne Heart FC midfielder said it was a heartbreaking decision to call time on his illustrious football career.

Retiring Melbourne Heart FC midfielder said it was a heartbreaking decision to call time on his illustrious football career.

Grella, 33, formally announced his retirement to media on Tuesday.

The defending midfielder spoke of his initial excitement ahead of his return to action against Western Sydney Wanderers.

However, that excitement was soon replaced by a "crushing" feeling after his realisation that he could no longer continue his dream to resurrect his professional career.

“First of all, I was looking so forward to playing [against Western Sydney], I was told by my friend [and Heart Head Coach] John Aloisi to sit down in the change rooms,” Grella said.

“I was like a little kid - I just couldn-t wait to get out onto the field.

“I worked so hard to get to that point and unfortunately the body just wouldn-t let me do it.

“After the game, I had a sit down with John and probably didn-t make the decision until Sunday afternoon that I wasn-t going to play on.

“I was pretty upset with, first the result, and with my body not letting me compete any more the way I used to and the way I do, so I had to make the decision to stop."

"I work really hard, and not just this time, but all the previous times that I've made comebacks I've always been confident."

Grella, a Qantas Socceroos stalwart who received 46 caps for his country, had worked hard on his recovery to ensure that he was in the right shape to take the field against the Wanderers.

“It-s been tough. I-ve tried and left no stone unturned," Grella said.

“It-s been frustrating because I-m a competitor and I always try to compete at the top level as often as possible.

“I-d done everything in my power to give me the best possible chance to be successful and when I realised that I couldn-t be successful anymore I just made the decision to not play on.

“I wasn-t going to keep fighting the fact that I couldn-t play on anymore.

“I had a good chat with John, who apart from being my coach for a short time, is a great friend and someone who I have a lot of respect for, so we had a few long chats and I was very comfortable in the decision.

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank the Club, Melbourne Heart, for giving me the last opportunity, the Chairman Peter Sidwell, the board, Scott Munn the CEO, John Didiluca - who had a big part to play in bringing me over - and my old mate John Aloisi.”