Macarthur FC captain Mark Milligan has today announced his retirement from football at the conclusion of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Milligan was announced as the clubs inaugural captain in July 2020.
He has featured in 24 matches so far this season, scoring on three occasions, including recording the clubs first A-League goal.
The 35-year-old, who started his professional career in 2002 with Northern Spirit, has amassed more than 330 matches over his 19 year career.
Milligan is one of the countries most decorated footballers after representing his country at four FIFA World Cups, three Asian Cups, the 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup as captain and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, totalling 80 international caps for his country (eighth most in the nation's history).
Looking back on his career, Milligan said he felt fortunate.
"Through my journey I have been lucky enough to play with some wonderful players, coaches, clubs and in some fantastic parts of the world," the centre back said.
"So many people gave up so much for me to achieve my dreams of a being a professional footballer, none more so than my family. I have decided that now is the time for me to not only give back to them, but to the game that has given me so much.
"Seeing the emergence of so many young talented Australian players, not only at my club but across the league, made it clear to me it was the perfect time to start the transition into the next chapter of my life and footballing career."
The 2015 Joe Marston Medal winner will join Macarthur FC's coaching ranks as one of head coach Ante Milicic's assistants for the 2021/22 A-League season and beyond.
"I am forever grateful for the experiences I have been offered through the game both for club and country," he said.
"I am honoured to have been able to represent Australia on multiple occasions and my time with the national team will stay fondly in my memories forever.
"I am excited to see what the game has in store for me going forward."
Macarthur FC chairman Gino Marra said Milligan's contribution, not only Macarthur, but to Australian football shouldn't be understated.
"We have been extremely fortunate to have a player of Mark's calibre represent our club in it's inaugural year," he said.
"Mark is held in the highest regard across the Australian footballing landscape.
"While it's a sad day for Bulls fans knowing this season will be Mark's last as a player, everyone at the club is excited to see him progress into the coaching ranks, sharing his knowledge and experience with the playing group."
Milicic said it's been an honour having Mark lead the club as its inaugural captain.
"I was extremely honoured when Mark agreed to join us at Macarthur," he said.
"As a coach you want to attract quality and experienced leaders to your club. Mark's faith and belief in the vision we have for this club is a testament to his character.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed working with Mark throughout the season as a player and captain of our club, and I'm excited to see him progress into the coaching realm."
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson praised Milligan for his significant contribution to Australian football at all levels.
"Mark's contribution not only to the Socceroos but football in Australia generally over the past two decades has been immense," Johnson said.
"From his first professional contract with Northern Spirit in the NSL in 2002, followed by his journey into Asia, through to joining Macarthur FC in 2020, Mark's leadership qualities combined with his genuine passion to achieve success and help the game to grow has always been evident.
"We (Football Australia) will seek to remain in close contact with Mark Milligan over the coming years as his knowledge, experience, and love for the game should not be lost to Australian football."