Chennai: Chennaiyin FC's Maltese forward Andre Schembri on Monday announced he will retire from professional football after the Indian Super League final against ATK in Goa on March 14.
The well-travelled former international with 94 caps to his name has decided to call it a day, announcing it through his official social media pages.
The 33-year-old player will be aiming to go out on a high, hopefully by helping CFC win its third ISL title. Schembri, the first Maltese player to feature in ISL, has been an integral part of Chennaiyin's success this season with five goals and three assists to his name going into the final showdown against ATK next Saturday.
"After 13 years dedicated to professional football overseas, I feel it is the right time to announce my retirement and focus on other aspects of the game," Schembri said in a statement.
"I am proud to have had such a fantastic journey across Europe and Asia. It is not easy to leave such a small island like Malta to try and break through professional football," he added.
Schembri, a versatile forward, has played club football in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal in his career before arriving in India and Chennaiyin this season.
It was Schembri who scored CFC's first goal of the 2019-20 season under dramatic circumstances against Hyderabad FC.
Schembri is also the first Maltese player to score in the proper rounds of the UEFA competition when he netted in the UEFA Europa League for previous club Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
He comes from a long line of footballers with his father, grandfather and uncles having represented Malta at the highest level. Schembri announced his retirement from international football in November 2018 after 94 appearances for his nation.
CFC coach Owen Coyle paid tribute to the Maltese and said, "I can safely say Schembri exemplifies everything you'd want in a footballer. An outstanding professional, prepared to sacrifice himself at times for the team. Hopefully we can win the final against ATK and give him a perfect send-off.