Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Final whistle for Ago

Another day, another Reds retirement. Paul Agostino, Adelaide's marquee player over the past two seasons, has declared that he will hang up his boots at the end of this A-League campaign.

Based on his history of injuries and limited game time in a red shirt, a more cynical man than me might say "Agostin-who? Don't let the door hit your arse and fracture your lower spine on the way out". This is understandable, to an extent: Ago joins a long and ignoble list of high-profile signings that have flopped in the A-League, from Zdrilic to the Other Wrong Aloisi (in his Sydney days at least) to Jardel to Zura to Milicevic. This sort of characterisation is very unfair to the man known to the blue half of Munich as 'Fussballgott', though - when fit, he is an extremely good player and a great asset to Adelaide's forward line. He obviously has a great passion for playing and wears the AUFC shirt with pride.

Unfortunately, of course, and through no fault of his own, Ago hasn't been fit very often at all during his time with Adelaide. His body is telling him that it's time to go, and he has chosen to leave the game on his own terms, with the grace and professionalism that has marked his time on the pitch. We didn't see the best of him at Adelaide, but he has had an illustrious playing career including stints at West Adelaide in the NSL, Young Boys and Yverdon in Switzerland, Bristol City in England, and ten years in the German Bundesliga 1 and 2 with 1860 Munich, where he became a fan favourite, before coming home to South Australia. In his prime he was a regular Socceroo, with twenty appearances and nine goals for the national team.

Australian football will lose a true gentleman of the game when Agostino retires - we can only hope that he is able to get back on the park to bang in a few more for the Reds before the curtain falls on his career.

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