Vidmar rules himself out of the World Cup

Australian footballer Tony Vidmar has withdrawn himself from being considered for the Socceroos squad for the FIFA World Cup due to medical reasons.

Australian footballer Tony Vidmar has withdrawn himself from being considered for the Socceroos squad for the FIFA World Cup due to medical reasons.

Currently part of Dutch side NAC Breda, Vidmar broke his ribs during a match earlier this season and has been sidelined since. After returning to training from the injury, Vidmar underwent an Electrocardiogram (ECG) where he experienced some shortness of breath. Further tests have revealed an irregular heart rhythm.

Vidmar will return to Australia at the end of the week for further examinations before deciding whether he will continue his playing career.

"It's something that has come as a real shock but due to the seriousness of the situation I had no other choice in the interests of my own health and the team that I withdraw from being considered for the World Cup squad," said Vidmar.

"When I return to Australia I'll have some further examinations and once I have that information I'll decide if I will play on but in the short term it would be too much of a risk."

"Of course I would love to play in the World Cup, it's been a dream of mine and I have been in four campaigns but until I am fully aware of my health situation I can't risk playing."

"Though I won't be on the field with my team mates I'll be joining the rest of Australia in giving them my full support."

Vidmar's national team debut came against Czechoslovakia in 1991 when he was playing with Adelaide City, with his most recent appearance coming on that famous night on 16 November 2005.

He has made 90 appearances (75 full A-internationals, 15 non-A matches) for the Socceroos over a 15-year international career and scored a vital goal during the penalty shoot out against Uruguay which put Australia into the World Cup.

A versatile defender who can play anywhere in the defensive line, Vidmar has been part of four World Cup qualifying campaigns and is the third most capped Australian player of all time behind Alex Tobin (87 caps) and Paul Wade (84).

Football Federation Australia has taken an active involvement in assisting Vidmar with his medical examinations.

"Since Tony told us of his condition our medical staff have been fully involved in his examinations and evaluating the results," said FFA Head of High Performance John Boultbee.

"We will continue to be involved when Tony returns to Australia and will assist him with whatever direction his future takes."

"It is disappointing that Tony will not be in the World Cup squad, especially considering he has been part of four campaigns."

"The coaching staff have been aware of Tony's condition and have given him the appropriate amount of time to make an informed decision. While they are all disappointed for Tony they respect and support his decision."

Socceroos captain on seven occasions, Vidmar started his career at Adelaide City in the National Soccer League in 1989. After three seasons including a League Championship in the 1991/92 season he was lured to Europe where he spent the 1992-93 season with Ekeren in Belgium.

Vidmar returned home to Adelaide City for the next two seasons, picking up a League Championship in 1993/94, before current national team assistant coach Graham Arnold convinced him to return to Europe and join him at NAC Breda in Holland.

After two seasons in the Netherlands he moved to Glasgow Rangers where he enjoyed football against some of Europe's best clubs. Over a five season spell at Rangers he collected two League Championships, three Scottish FA Cup medals (including a goal in the 2000 final) and two Scottish League Cup final wins. He also played in European Cup matches and UEFA Cup ties.

The English Premier League beckoned for Vidmar and he spent a season with Middlesbrough before heading to Wales to play for Cardiff City in the English Championship. A superb 2003/04 season saw Vidmar named the Cardiff City Player of the Year as voted by the players and the supporters.

Vidmar returned to Holland last year and linked up with his former club NAC Breda.

He represented is country at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and played in three Confederations Cup competitions.

Tony VIDMAR - Fact File Born: 4.7.70, Adelaide Position: Defender

Qantas Socceroo honours: 90 appearances (3 goals) [1991-2005] 75 A internationals (3 goals) / 15 non-A internationals

Other Australian representative honours: U-23 - 1992 Olympic Games (Barcelona) campaign

Club career: 1989-1992 Adelaide City (Australia) 1992-1993 Ekeren (Belgium) 1993-1995 Adelaide City (Australia) 1995-1997 NAC Breda (Holland) 1997-2002 Rangers (Scotland) 2002-2003 Middlesbrough (England) 2003-2005 Cardiff City (England) 2005- NAC Breda (Holland)