Sliema Wanderers skipper Alex Muscat has announced his retirement from football due to a series of recurring knee injuries.
The 34-year-old has established himself as one of the cornerstones of Sliema Wanderers in the last 15 years winning two Premier League titles and three FA Trophy medals.
“It all started 15 years ago..season 2004-05 when I was promoted to the senior squad of Sliema Wanderers FC. It was a dream come true, being a Sliema Wanderers supporter since I was a young boy,” Muscat said on his facebook page.
“The last 15 years playing for the first team marked my heart for life. TODAY I have decided to call it a day and stop doing what I loved doing most for all my life..playing football. It was a very difficult decision to take and I must admit that I never thought it would be this hard to decide.
“I had time to think about this decision over and over again and relive all the years I have been playing football starting from the good old days of when I started this dream with Sliema Wanderers Nursery at the age of 5. I still cannot digest the fact that after 30 years of football I will have to live without it (playing).
“Unfortunately injuries have hindered my career and today I have to take this drastic decision after recurrent knee injuries I suffered in the last years.
“I wish to thank everyone who formed part of this journey with me and who helped me throughout to achieve what I have always dreamt..to play for Sliema Wanderers FC.”
Tributes poured in as soon as Muscat announced his decision.
Mark Scerri, Sliema’s current skipper, wrote: “If it wasn’t for your dedication and perseverance this day might have been before, but that sums you up Alex, no matter what was in your way you fought hard and followed your dreams.
“Throughout your career you have been an example in Maltese football. You are the most selfless person I have seen and that's not normal in our sport.
“An inspiration for us all. Malta has lost the best right back of the last decade and Sliema besides losing a great captain has now earned another ex Sliema great as you are definitely a Legend in the club's history.”
On his part Sliema president Keith Perry uploaded a picture of Alex Muscat with an FA Trophy medal in front of the Sliema fans and wrote: “This for me represents who you really are . Il Capitano. Thanks.”
The Malta FA also paid its tribute to the former Malta international who collected 36 caps for Malta.