Michael Galea will be taking a sabbatical from football this summer before deciding whether to prolong his career in lower divisions in future after informing his club Birkirkara yesterday that he will not renew his contract for the 2011-12 season as he does not intend to play again in the Premier League.
The news was revealed on the club’s website which also stated that Spaniard Jorge Febles Mora, 28, will be returning to the Stripes’ fold after having played for them in season 2008/09.
Galea joined the Stripes in 1997.
Until then, the showcase at the valley club was bereft of any major silverware but after heavy investment and with the former Melita striker firing goals at will, Birkirkara went on to win three league titles and four times the FA Trophy.
In all, Galea, 32, made 334 appearances for Birkirkara, scoring 177 goals in the process.
He is the third best scorer in the all-time list behind Stefan Sultana and Gilbert Agius and won the top-scorers award in 2006.
“It was not an easy decision but I would like to thank Birkirkara FC for their help in understanding the situation and acceding to my request,” the captain was quoted as saying.
“The past 14 years at the club have been wonderful for me and I am proud to have contributed to many of the success that Birkirkara have enjoyed throughout these years.
“I wish the club the very best for the future and assure everyone that I will remain a Birkirkara supporter in the years to come.”
Galea did not divulge where his future lies in the sport. Many are expecting him to wrap up his career with first-love Melita who just missed promotion to the Premier League next season after losing a decisive play-off.
“That’s one of the possibilities, for sure,” Galea told The Sunday Times.
“But after so many years of full-time commitment I think I deserve a break. I will take my time to decide but definitely I won’t play in the Premier League again, otherwise I would have stayed with Birkirkara.
“The season has already started for the big clubs but in Division One the summer holidays are a bit longer. We’ll see... for the moment I’m enjoying my break from top-flight football. Decision time comes later.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Mora’s signing is the second one for Bir-kirkara in the space of a few days as on Friday the club announced the arrival of young midfielder Leighton Grech.
Grech is a product of Hiber-nians FC. Last season, he played for Vittoriosa Stars.
Birkirkara, under new coach Patrick Curmi, will make their first official showing of the season tomorrow when they play Floriana in a Euro Cup match at the Hibs Stadium.