After 17 years in the Isuzu UTE A-League, Western United veteran centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley will retire at the end of the season.
An A-League Men and AFC Champions League winner, four-time Socceroo Topor-Stanley has amassed the second-most appearances (379) in the history of the Isuzu UTE A-League since debuting for Sydney FC in 2006 – just one behind Melbourne Victory’s Leigh Broxham.
Part of Western’s title-winning side in 2021-22, the 38-year-old – who conquered Asia with Western Sydney Wanderers and also played for Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets – has at least two matches remaining before hanging up his boots.
“I’m immensely proud and grateful for the life football has given me. It’s allowed me to travel the world, given me perspective, allowed me to develop character I never knew possible, and most importantly led me to meet my wife and have a family,” he said.
“I’ve come to terms with retirement as it’s something that I’ve been contemplating for a few months now, so I’m at peace with my decision.
“It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge all the people that I’ve encountered that have helped me become the man I am today. To all of you, thank you.”
Part of five A-Leagues Grand Finals over the course of his career, Topor-Stanley joined Western in 2021 and made 21 appearances before injury ruled him out of the Finals Series as John Aloisi’s men claimed the Championship.
This season, he has featured in 14 games, with Western fighting to reach the finals – the defending champions are eighth and three points outside of the top six ahead of Saturday’s showdown against three-time reigning premiers Melbourne City.
“Nikolai will go down as a legend of Australian football and it is a bittersweet moment to see him step away from the game,” said Western’s general manager of football Mal Impiombato.
“Having achieved so much in his career, Nikolai was an outstanding addition to our playing group and was a vital part of the squad that won the A-League Men Championship last season.
“His longevity and consistent success is something to be celebrated, and I’m sure all of his former clubs, old team-mates and rivals will recognise the special contribution that he has made to our game.
“We would like to wish Nikolai and his family all the best in his retirement, and he will always be welcome back at Western United at any time.”