Marko Stankovic announces retirement from professional football

Marko Stankovic, who played for Hyderabad FC in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20, announced his retirement from professional football on Tuesday after an illustrious 17-year career. The 34-year old Austrian made 38 Hero ISL appearances over three seasons, first with FC Pune City and then with Hyderabad.

Posting the official announcement on his Instagram, the midfielder said, “Hello guys. I‘m officially retiring from professional football. Hard decision, but well prepared. Thank you to everyone who supported me. First of all, thank you to my family, my friend, teammates, my supporters. Keep supporting me, I‘ll always stay in football.”

Stankovic began his career in the second Austrian league with DSV Leoben before moving to top division side SK Sturm Graz and then US Triestina in Italy. He also made a few appearances in the UEFA Champions League with Austria Vienna, assisting a goal in the competition against Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg. With Austria Vienna, he won the Austrian League in 2013 and after a brief stint with SV Ried, he moved to FC Pune City ahead of Hero ISL 2017-18.

During his time in the Hero ISL, Stankovic was a key cog in midfield for both Pune City and Hyderabad FC. Over the last three campaigns, he notched up four goals and five assists, including two goals and three assists during the 2018-19 season – his most prolific in terms of goal involvement. He also had a passing accuracy of almost 72% and was effective defensively as well, making 67 tackles, 44 clearances, 41 interceptions and 24 blocks during his three campaigns in India.

Stankovic also represented his national side at senior level once in 2008 against Turkey, although he was a regular youth team player for Austria. He reportedly had an offer from an Austrian Bundesliga side to prolong his career but turned it down to spend more time with his son and share his experience with his state club.

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