Carl Valeri reflected on his happy memories at Melbourne Victory after announcing his retirement.
The Victory captain, 34, said on Friday that the 2018/19 season would be his last after a successful career that included 52 appearances for the Caltex Socceroos.
Valeri, a two-time Championship winner and former Victory Medallist, spoke fondly about his five seasons at the club.
“I’m very fortunate that I reached my dream. I had a dream of playing in the World Cup and I think I’m one of the fortunate few to say I’ve achieved that and I was there,” he told a news conference.
“I think about the success and the trophies I’ve won and all I can think about is the memories that I have here, at this club, the memories that I have here.
“I can’t even remember holding up trophies, it’s the moments during the season, the tough times, the challenges that I’ve had, the times Leigh (Broxham) and I in our room talking about stuff, having a laugh.
“It’s those times that I remember and it’s those times that I’ll cherish and no doubt those times that I’ll miss.”
Valeri – one of only 13 players to make 100 Hyundai A-League appearances for Victory – said he made his decision three weeks ago before informing his team-mates.
“I mentioned it to the boys last week and it was hard, it was really hard, because I really love this club and a lot of people say this club has got a family feel and it really does,” he said.
“It’s evolving into a high-performance club, which is also what I love to see, but what I love the most is the people in it, people who have shaped me, who have made me a better person, who have made me into what I am today.
“I’ll take that with me for the rest of my life into the new chapter that I’ll begin with my family. That was a key determining factor – my family.”