Andrew Durante has officially called time on his illustrious twenty-year career.

The Western United centre-back announced his retirement on Wednesday morning after over 400 appearances in the Australian top-flight and 24 caps for the New Zealand National team.

Durante, 39, has tallied the most A-League caps in history while being sixth in the all-time National League appearances.

Durante said he knew this season would be his last heading into the new campaign and will take part in their final four home and away games of the season and finals should they qualify.

“I am announcing today that I’ll be retiring at the end of this season,” Durante said.

“It was a difficult decision but something I have thought about for quite a while to be honest I have played on longer than I thought I would have,

“I have felt really good and I have enjoyed my time but I feel like now is the right time,

“At 39 I have felt like I have done everything I wanted to do in the game and I am proud of what I have done and I think now is the right time to make my announcement.”

Durante started his career at Sydney Olympic in 2001, where he won the NSL Championship in his first season before heading over to Paramatta Power and spending a short-tenure for Singaporean outfit Balestier Khalsa in 2004.

Upon the closure of the NSL, the 39-year-old signed for the Newcastle Jets and won the A-League Championship in his final season on the Hunter along with taking home the Joe Marston Medal.

Durante spent 11 years in Wellington where he accumulated over 270 appearances before joining Western in 2019 as part of their inaugural squad.

The defender will have an opportunity to farewell the Wellington Phoenix faithful this weekend when he returns to the ‘cake tin’ on Saturday.

“The announcement of when to do it was a difficult one,” Durante said.

“Everything kind of aligned to do it at the back end of the season and to have a game back in Wellington – I think that’s really fitting,

“I spent a lot of time there, 11 years at the club and to be able to go back there and say thank you to them as well was part of the reason I decided to do it this week.”

Western United coach Mark Rudan also paid tribute to Durante who he also coached at Wellington before coming along with him to Victoria in 2019.

“This is a time of celebration,” Rudan said.

“Not often do players get to choose when they walk out of the game and Andrew’s deserved of that opportunity because of the stellar career he has had,

“When you have got a blank canvas and you’re looking to create a culture and a vision and values attached to that Andrew was probably the important element of that at our football club and he has driven those values.”

Upon the conclusion of Western United’s campaign, Durante will take some time out of the game to travel with family before his next venture.

Nick D’Urbano