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Best Australian soccer players of all time

Wed 24 March 2021 | 8:30

This article honors Australian soccer and addresses the best Australian soccer players of all time.

There is no shortage of greats among the best Australian footballers of all time. Australia's soccer history is rich and flavorsome.

Football may not be Australia's dominant sport, but some of the best players in the fairly young history of the nation are currently being created by the Socceroos.

These players have ridden the crest of the wave that has taken place since the 2015 success of the Socceroos' Asian Cup to help land spots in some of the planet's biggest football competitions.

They have been a member of both the Football Confederation of Oceania and the Asian Football Confederation since 2006. They've made five World Cup appearances, including a torturous 32-year wait since 1974.

The biggest triumph Australia has experienced as a country has been the 'Golden Generation' between 2006 and 2014. Nearly all of these men have played in World Cups, and many have graced British and European football's upper echelons.

Best Australian soccer players of all time

Read on to learn about the 11 who made the final list of Sportmob and why they are heralded among the greatest ever produced by their country.

Mark Schwarzer

Mark Schwarzer OAM (born 6 October 1972) is a retired footballer from the Australian professional association who played as a goalkeeper.

From 1993 to 2013, he represented Australia at international level and was chosen for both the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

He is known as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League of all time.

Schwarzer became a player for the National Soccer League team

Marconi Stallions

in 1990, having advanced through the youth ranks of Colo Cougars, Penrith, Blacktown Association and Marconi Stallions.

He moved to Germany's Bundesliga side Dynamo Dresden in 1994 after making 58 appearances for the club, playing twice, and then to Bundesliga side 1 FC Kaiserslautern in 1995, playing four times.

In 1996, Schwarzer joined then-second-tier side Bradford City and made 16 appearances before joining Middlesbrough's

Premier League

club in February 1997.

For Middlesbrough, he made 445 appearances, but chose to leave the club in May 2008.

He then transferred to Fulham, the Premier League team, and made 218 club appearances before he moved to Chelsea in 2013.

He was the very first non-Brit to have made more than 500 Premier League appearances (making him the most famous non-Brit in the history of the Premier League), and also the oldest player to have appeared in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

In January 2015, he joined Leicester City on a free transfer and left the club at the end of their 2015-16 Premier League-winning season.

Mark Bosnich

Mark John Bosnich is an Australian former goalkeeper and sports pundit (born 13 January 1972) and one of the

best Australian soccer players of all time.

He played in England for Aston Villa,

Manchester United

and Chelsea clubs of the Premier League.

He also played in Australia for Sydney United, Central Coast Mariners and Sydney Olympic, he also played in Australia, as well as featuring Australia 17 times throughout his career, scoring 1 goal for his country.

On Fox Sports News, he currently co-hosts Bill & Boz.

In 1989, Manchester United took Bosnich to England, but he returned to Australia because of a lack of first-team opportunities.

A year later, Aston Villa took him back to England and, during the 1990s, he established himself as one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers.

He was one of the famous Australian soccer players of all time.

As a substitute for the departing Peter Schmeichel, Manchester United re-signed him in 1999, but injuries and a lack of first-team opportunities contributed to a downturn in form.

In 2001, he left Manchester United for

Chelsea

, where he failed again to find a regular place in the starting line-up and continued to fight injuries.

In September 2002, he was released by Chelsea and banned from football for nine months after testing positive for cocaine.

Subsequently, Bosnich developed drug addiction and spent the next six years of his life in exile before preparing for a comeback in 2007 and finally returning to his native Australia for a professional game the following year, before retiring in 2009.

Craig Johnston

Craig Peter Johnston is an Australian former professional footballer (born 25 June 1960) and one of the famous Australian soccer players of all time.

Between 1977 and 1988, he played in the English Football League as a midfielder, winning the European Cup, five league titles, and an FA Cup (scoring in 1986 final) with Liverpool.

Johnston was a crowd favorite at Anfield, nicknamed "skippy", making 271

Liverpool

appearances and scoring 40 goals.

He was a prominent member of the "double" winning team in 1986. He also co-wrote the team's 1988 cup final song "Anfield Rap".

He designed and produced the prototype for Adidas' Predator football boot, worn by many footballers and rugby players, after retiring.

Being one of the

famous Australian soccer players of all time

, he was qualified for the national teams in Australia and South Africa, but he only ever played for the U21 youth team in England.

In the early 1980s, Jock Stein approached Johnston with a vision to him playing for

Scotland

as he was eligible through his father.

In 1981 and 1984, Johnston refused Stein's offer and also resisted calls to play for his country, Australia.

He instead chose to represent England at under-21 and 'B' team level. He described playing football for Australia as “like surfing for England” early in his career in England.

Johnston was also qualified to join the South African national side since he was born there, but the South African federation never approached or offered to play for them.

Johnston was called up to the full England squad in November 1987 but did not make an appearance at that level.

Brett Emerton

A retired Australian professional footballer, Brett Michael Emerton (born 22 February 1979) played for

Sydney Olympic

, Sydney FC, Feyenoord Rotterdam, Blackburn Rovers, and the Australian national team.

Emerton was known for his "pace, ball control, and creativity" and was capable of playing as a wide midfielder or defender.

He is one of the

best Australian soccer players of all time.

At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where he was sent off against Nigeria as Australia was beaten 3-2 and went out of the competition, Emerton was captain of the Olyroos, Australia's Olympic football team.

He was selected for the FIFA Confederations Cup held in South Korea and Japan in 2001 in the Australian squad and made the starting line-up in a surprising win over France and a South Korean loss as Australia qualified from the group stages.

Emerton was a member of the Australian national team who lost the final place in the 2002 World Cup finals in Korea and Japan when

Uruguay

beat Australia over two legs in November 2001.

In February 2003, he played in the team that thoroughly defeated England 3-1 at the Boleyn Ground, scoring the final goal to secure an impressive victory.

Considered as one of the best Australian football players of all time, he captained the Aussies on 5 June 2011 since there was no Lucas Neill in their 3-0 win at the Adelaide Oval Stadium over rivals New Zealand.

Emerton started the friendly match against Serbia in a 0-0 draw on 7 June 2011. Emerton started and scored a 1-0 victory for the Socceroos against Hong Kong in the East Asian Cup qualification.

Marco Bresciano

Mark Bresciano is an Australian former professional football (soccer) player who played as a midfielder (born 11 February 1980) and was one of the best Australian football players of all time.

Born in Melbourne, before heading into the National Soccer League with Carlton, Bresciano played youth football for the Bulleen Lions.

In 1999, he moved to the Empoli side of the Italian Serie B, starting a 12-year stay in the country.

He moved to Serie A with Parma in 2002, and later played for

Palermo

and S.S. Lazio.

From 2011, he spent the final four years of his career in the Middle East, first with

Al Nasr

, the UAE Pro-League team, and then with Al-Gharafa, the Qatar Stars League club, where he last played in 2015.

For Australia, Bresciano had a lengthy tenure, making 84 appearances and scoring 13 goals, making him one of the

best Australian football players of all time.

He participated in three FIFA World Cups, two (one victorious) AFC Asian Cups and the 2004 OFC Nations Cup winning squad.

His 2006 World Cup qualification play-off goal against Uruguay sent the match to a penalty shootout that Australia won to qualify for the first time in 32 years.

He previously often represented Australia at youth levels, including the 2000 Australian Summer Olympics and the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Lucas Neill

Lucas Edward Neill is an Australian former soccer player (born 9 March 1978) and one of the

best Australian soccer players of all time

.

Neill played as a defender, often playing as a centre back as well as a full-back. Neill spent nearly 15 years playing in

England

during his career.

He represented Australia at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Asian AFC Cup, the 2010 South African FIFA World Cup, and the 2011 Asian AFC Cup in Qatar.

He was elected the 50th captain of the Australian national team on 6 October 2006 and had earned a record 61 caps as captain by the time of his retirement.

He has played for Millwall, Blackburn Rovers,

Everton

, Galatasaray, Al Jazira, Al Wasl, Sydney FC, Omiya Ardija, Watford FC, Doncaster Rovers and West Ham United.

In October 1996, after Duncan Cummings and Harry Kewell, Neill became the third-youngest player on the Australian National Team when he played a friendly game against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, 18 years and 7 months old.

He also competed with the Australian men's team, the Olyroos, at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Neill was indeed one of the best Australian footballers ever.

With commentator Robbie Slater claiming that Neill should be stood down as Socceroos captain, parts of the press and social media called on Neill to retire.

For the successive 6-0 losses, given Neill's lack of speed in defense, another media analyst Mark Bosnich described Neill as "part of the problem".

Neill reacted to the criticism, refusing to discuss retirement, appearing instead to lay the blame at the feet of the squad's younger players.

Neill was quoted in that media interview as saying: "I add value to the team and I bring a lot of good attributes but I am the victim ..."

It was disclosed on 6 May 2014 that Socceroos team manager Ange Postecoglou had told Neill that he would not be part of the 2014 World Cup squad of the Australian team.

John Aloisi

John Aloisi (born 5 February 1976) is a former manager of the A-League team Brisbane Roar and a retired Australian association football player.

He was the first Australian ever to play and score in La Liga, the Premier League, and Serie A in a professional career that spanned 20 seasons, with league records of 459 matches and 127 goals.

He is without a doubt one of the best Australian footballers ever.

He returned to Australia in 2007, playing in the A-League for four seasons.

For more than a decade, Aloisi was an integral member of Australia's national team and represented the nation at the 2006 World Cup, becoming an important figure in the qualifying stages.

He has also played in two Confederations Cups for the Socceroos.

A former striker and one of the

best Australian footballers ever

, Aloisi was described as a goal poacher who was able to "hold the ball up well and create opportunities for his teammates."

After his return to the A-League, the national team stopped recalling Aloisi.

His penalty kick against Uruguay in early 2008, which brought the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup, was named one of the three greatest moments in Australian sporting history by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Johnny Warren

John Norman Warren, MBE, OAM, was an Australian soccer player, coach, administrator, writer and broadcaster (17 May 1943 to 6 November 2004).

For his passionate efforts to encourage the game in Australia, he was recognised as Captain Socceroo. In his honor, the award for the best player in the A-League is the Johnny Warren Medal.

He is one of the

greatest Australian soccer players in history.

Warren joined Canterbury-Marrickville as a fifteen-year-old in 1959, after playing junior football for Botany Methodists and Earlwood Wanderers.

Initially, before being elevated to first grade later in the year, he played in the club's third grade team.

Warren was transferred to St George's Budapest in 1963.

In a 12-year stint at St George Warren won three NSW State League grand finals, one premiership and two state cups.

In the NSW State League Grand Final of 1974, his final action as a player was to net a match-winning goal for St George.

He replaced himself immediately after scoring the goal.

In November 1965, against Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Warren made his full international debut for Australia.

He has played 42 international games, including Australia's first appearance in the 1974 World Cup, proving himself to be one of the best Australian soccer players of all time.

In 1967, in a match against New Zealand in Saigon, Warren captained the national team for the first time.

In 24 internationals, he continued to captain Australia.

Mark Viduka

Mark Anthony Viduka (born 9 October 1975) is a retired footballer from Australia who played as a center forward and was one of the best Australian soccer players of all time.

 At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he captained the Australian national team to the Round of 16, which remains their best ever result to date.

In the UEFA Champions League, his four goals are the most produced by any Australian player.

In June 1994, Viduka started his international career at the age of 18 in a friendly series against South Africa.

The first game was played in Adelaide, and the second was played in Sydney.

Both games were won by Australia 1-0. In October 1997, he netted his first international goal in the 23rd minute of a friendly game against

Tunisia

.

Viduka captained the side on Australia's first-ever Asian Cup participation and he scored their single goal against Iraq, a game that they eventually lost 1-3.

In the next match, he scored two goals against Thailand's co-host team, beating them 4-0; Michael Beauchamp and Harry Kewell scored other goals and removed them from the remaining competition.

He led the goalscoring in the Asian Cup tournament at one stage, although his team was eliminated in a penalty shootout against Japan in the quarter-finals.

As a result of this loss, question marks hang over whether Viduka would then continue his international career.

Viduca is one of the greatest Australian soccer players in history.

He also had to return to the Socceroos two years after the 2007 Asian Cup, either claiming he had injuries or club commitments.

He missed the World Cup Qualifiers against Qatar, Bahrain, and Japan, although he was fully fit and asked to play by Socceroo manager Pim Verbeek.

Questions were raised about his loyalty to the national team, even by other squad members.

In the final squad for the 2010 World Cup, Viduka was not picked, having retired from football the year before.

Harry Kewell

Harold Kewell (born 22 September 1978) is a former player and Australian football coach who is presently the head coach of Oldham Athletic's League Two club.

He played for Leeds United, Liverpool,

Galatasaray

, Melbourne Victory, Al-Gharafa, and Melbourne Heart and is one of the best Australian soccer players of all time.

He was named the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2000 while at

Leeds

.

He gained 58 caps internationally and scored 17 goals while playing for the Australian national team.

A left-winger often capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or second striker, despite his career being challenged by injury, he is often known in the media as "Australia's finest football export".

In 2012, in a vote by Australian fans, players, and media, Kewell was voted Australia's greatest footballer.

No doubt he is one of the best Australian soccer players ever.

At the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Championship, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, where Australia finished runners-up, Australia won the 2004 OFC Nations Cup for the fourth time, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where Australia finished runners-up, Kewell represented Australia.

Tim Cahill

Timothy Filiga Cahill AO (born 6 December 1979) is a retired professional footballer from Australia who played as a striker, although on some occasions he also played as an attacking midfielder.

Cahill became known as a box-to-box midfielder for "his aggressive and powerful approach and his ability to head the ball in the penalty area" He currently works for BBC Sport and Sky Sports as a pundit.

Tim is by far one of the absolute

best Australian soccer players ever.

Cahill is the Australia national team's all-time leading goalscorer, having scored 50 goals in 108 caps between 2004 and 2018.

At the FIFA World Cup, he was the first Australian to score.

Cahill has scored in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) and has scored the most goals by any Australian in the World Cup with five goals, placing himself among the best Australian soccer players of all time.

He became the first Australian player to score in the AFC Asian Cup back in 2007.

Having netted many of his goals with his head, Cahill is known for his skilled heading abilities and high vertical leap.

He's famous for his regular goal of shadow boxing around the corner flag.

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