Socceroos legend Mark Bresciano has revealed he’d all but made up his mind about retiring heading into the Asian Cup while also explaining an approach from Italy to play for the Azzurri.
In a wide-ranging interview on Melbourne radio station SEN on Tuesday evening, Bresciano was his typically self-effacing self as he answered questions on several topics from his retirement, to an Asian Cup Final chat with Ange Postecoglou, his time in Italy’s Serie A and a cheeky approach from then Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni around 2002.
Above all things, Bresciano was keen to emphasise retiring was a decision he’d made by himself and that he hadn’t been pushed.
“I think before I actually went into the Asian Cup I already had that idea that his could be my last tournament, my last camp with the Socceroos,” said Bresciano.
“I did say to myself if we do win it, that’s it, that’s me done because it’s probably the best way I can leave the team and leave on a positive note by winning something with the team.
“So the decision was basically made before entering the camp there in December in Melbourne and since I have made the announcement, no nothing has changed, I’m happy with my decision and I’m sticking by it.
“I wasn’t pushed by anyone,” he added. “The decision was basically made by myself and I just thought it was the right time to do it.
“I would have loved to play on but I did reflect and think about the decision and I think basically if I do continue, individually there’s no purpose for me because I think it was unrealistic for me to say I’d make the next World Cup in 2018.
“So I think it was a good time to leave and let the young boys continue the great journey they’ve started.”
As the Socceroos battled with injuries during a dramatic extra-time Asian Cup Final win over Korea Republic, Bresciano found himself stuck on the bench as an unused substitute in what would be his final appearance in green and gold.
But during the post-match celebrations, Postecoglou made a point of having a quiet chat with the veteran midfielder, one that was caught on camera. Bresciano, though, wasn’t inclined to reveal what was said.
“I think it’s better you ask him,” Bresciano said. “I’m not a person who would ... all nice words, there was nothing harsh and it was all positive but I’d prefer if you could ask him, he’d probably tell you what he told me.”
Bresciano revealed it had been a childhood dream to play in Italy’s Serie A, something he did with distinction over a 13-year career that included clubs like Empoli, Parma, Palermo and Lazio.
“There’s not much coverage in Australia regarding the Serie A,” he said. “I used to wake up really early in the morning to watch the Serie A and watch the Italian league. As a little kid, that was a dream.
“Just to know that I’ve played in the Serie A for so many years and in different teams and in good teams and actually done well and just come away thinking, people in Italy still remember me as a player, so it’s just great to hear that.”
Indeed Trapattoni rated Bresciano so highly he made inquiries during 2002 as to the midfielder’s availability for Italy, not realising he’d made his full Socceroos debut in a Confederation’s Cup clash with then World and European champion France.
“Obviously as a player that’s a massive, massive compliment because at the time, probably a lot of people (in Italian football) didn’t know my full background and know that I was part of the Socceroos,” he explained.
“There were times where Trapattoni – he was manager - he tried to get into contact with me to see if i was eligible to play for the national team.
“So back in the day, that was massive for me but my heart would have never run that way. I’ve always – I still feel that I am Australian, bred and born in Australia and I would have never made that decision.”