Ivan Vicelich calls time on All Whites career

Last updated 15:15 29/01/2014
Ivan Vicelich
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END OF AN ERA: Ivan Vicelich, the most-capped All Whites player of all time, has announced his retirement from international football.

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Ivan Vicelich, the most-capped player in the history of the All Whites, has called time on his international career.

The 37-year-old Vicelich made his All Whites debut  in 1995 against Uruguay and won a further 87 'A' international caps in 98 appearances for New Zealand. 

Vicelich, who has also captained the All Whites, said the end of a failed World Cup qualifying campaign was the right time to retire.

"It's been a few months since the last game [against Mexico] and there's been a few dining room table discussions with my wife and family and I feel it's a good time to hang up the boots and move forward with the next chapter," Vicelich said.

"It's been an honour to have represented my country and I never dreamed it would turn out having appeared in the most games as an All White. It's not something you think about, you dream about it. 

"It's been a privilege and an honour every moment I've pulled on the shirt. It's a sad time knowing that I won't be doing it again but I can now move forward."

Vicelich, who spent time with Dutch club sides Roda JC Kerkrade and RKC Waalwijk over a seven-year period from 2001, singled out the qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as the standout moment of his time with the All Whites, along with the side's appearance at the Confederations Cup in Mexico in 1999.

"The Bahrain game in Wellington and the trip to the World Cup was a dream come true for me and the Confederations Cup in Mexico was a great time being the first big tournament we'd played in since 1982 [FIFA World Cup in Spain].

"There have been a lot of tours and special moments with guys I've played with and the life-long friendships I've formed are something I'll cherish."

New Zealand Football High Performance Manager Fred de Jong hailed the achievements of Vicelich during a wonderful playing career which impacted the game in New Zealand over an 18-year period.

"It is fitting that Ivan retires from international football having achieved the most number of caps in the history of the All Whites," de Jong said.

"That remarkable accomplishment is testament to not only Ivan's outstanding talent, but also his personal drive and commitment to be the best he could be over a prolonged period of time.

"His career is a shining example to our next generation of players of what it takes on and off the field to make it in the extremely tough world of high level international sport."

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As Vicelich stepped aside, the former international age-group representative said the game was now on a far firmer footing than when he first broke into the senior international arena in 1995.  

"The game is improving and the ASB Premiership is improving. Players are now coming through there, moving on and coming through the Phoenix, so the platform is there. 

"Players coming through now are technically better than they were in the past and when I first started, every player except Wynton Rufer was in New Zealand. Now 90 per cent of the squad are playing professionally; that's certainly helping the development of the All Whites."

Vicelich now turns his attention to Auckland City's campaign as the ASB Premiership leaders target league and OFC Champions League success once again.

"We've got a couple of goals with the ASB Premiership and OFC Champions League so I'm focussed on that as we continue to look to do well and win those titles."

Part of his role with Auckland City has the All Whites legend providing coaching input, a side of the game Vicelich might explore further as time goes on.

"It's something I've enjoyed and it's certainly a possible future pathway, it's definitely something I've thought about."

Ivan Vicelich - All Whites career record:

Games: 98

'A' international caps: 98

Goals: 7

New Zealand representative honours:

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

2009 FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa

2003 FIFA Confederations Cup France

1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico 

New Zealand U-17

New Zealand U-20 

New Zealand U-23 

Awards:

OFC Footballer of the Year 2009

Oceania All Stars XI 2008

Auckland Sportsman of the Year 2010

Auckland Overall Sporting Excellence Award 2010

New Zealand International Player of the Year 2002

New Zealand Young Player of the Year 1994

Jack Batty Memorial Trophy 1994

- Fairfax Media

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