|By DAMIEN SOUNESS
Former Australia international Vince Grella has spoken of his frustration at the horror run of injuries that forced him into retirement.
Grella, 33, retired on Monday after tearing his calf in what turned out to be his only appearance for Melbourne Heart, against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
The ex-Socceroo midfielder, who signed with Heart in October, had hoped to revive his career in the A-League after an injury-plagued stint with English club Blackburn Rovers.
"It was a crushing blow, but I'd done everything in my power to give me the best possible chance to be successful," he said on Tuesday.
"When I realised that I couldn't be successful anymore, I made the decision not to play on.
"Ending in this way and not ending because of a lack of passion or a lack of enjoyment in playing football, but because of a physical problem that doesn't allow you to compete anymore - that's what leaves a bitter taste in my mouth."
Grella said he was in no doubt about his fitness before the Wanderers match and comfortable with his decision to hang up the boots.
"I work really hard, and not just this time, but all the previous times that I've made comebacks I've always been confident," he said.
"I tried and left no stone unturned. It's been frustrating because I'm a competitor and I've always tried to compete at the top level as often as possible.
"But to enjoy those really good times, you've got to be able to accept the really bad times.
"For me now, it's just about getting back to the family and having a couple of months off to the refresh the mind."
Grella, who described Australia's win over Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and his Serie A debut as career highlights, said he wanted to remain involved in football in some capacity.
The former Empoli and Parma man said French legend Zinedine Zidane was the best player he played against, while Socceroos stalwart Mark Bresciano and long-time friend was the best he played alongside.