Massimo Luongo announces shock Socceroos retirement ahead of Asian Cup

Julian Miller
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Julian Miller
22/12/2023
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Massimo Luongo retires from the Socceroos before Asian Cup

Luongo is stepping away from the Socceroos to focus on his club career and staying healthy for the rest of the club season. 

News Insights

  • Massimo Luongo announces retirement from international football.
  • Luongo is 31 years old and has 45 caps.
  • The midfielder will miss the 2023 Asian Cup.
  • Graham Arnold will announce his Asian Cup squad on Friday morning.

Ipswich Town midfielder Massimo Luongo has stunned the Australian soccer world this week by announcing his international retirement. This shock move from the 31-year-old former Tottenham player comes just days before Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is set to announce his 2023 Asian Cup squad. 

Luongo turns down 2023 Asian Cup spot 

Unlike most players who decide to end their international career following a major tournament, Massimo Luongo is retiring from international duty prior to a major tournament. Australia are set to play in the 2023 Asian Cup in January. Luongo was almost certainly to feature for the Socceroos at that tournament after being called up in the two prior international windows. 
 
Had he gone, the 2023 Asian Cup would have been Luongo's third Asian Cup. The Ipswich Town player's first Asian Cup was in 2015. Luongo was awarded the most valuable player award at that tournament. The 2015 Asian Cup, which was hosted in Australia, remains as the only Asian Cup the Socceroos have won to date.  
 
Like all Aussies, Luongo is hoping the Socceroos can get their second Asian Cup win this January. “I look forward to watching on now as this group of young players drive the Socceroos’ culture forward,” said the 31-year-old. 

Injuries and club duties behind Luongo's decision 

Luongo made his debut for the Socceroos in 2014 when he was 21 years old and still playing his club soccer for Swindon Town in the EFL League One. His MVP-worthy performance at the 2015 Asian Cup had many Australian soccer fans hoping Luongo would be one of the Socceroos' key players over the next decade. Unfortunately for those fans, and Luongo, injuries stopped that from happening. 
 
The midfielder missed nearly five years of international football between January 2019 and October 2023 when he made his return for the Socceroos in a friendly against New Zealand.  
 
In his nearly decade-long international career, Luongo earned just 45 caps for the Socceroos. This is significantly less than you would expect considering his early promise as a young player. Luongo himself reflected on how injuries limited his international career. 
 
It was a hugely frustrating time to be on the sidelines too regularly and to be honest, there were many points in the last few years where I felt my international career had passed me by," said Luongo. 
 
The midfielder also admitted that the potential of suffering another injury is a reason for his Socceroos retirement. “This hasn’t been a decision I’ve taken lightly, but I’ve got to prioritise managing my body as my career goes on. I’ve loved my journey with the national team and will always cherish the moments I’ve had in this jersey." Luongo explained. 
 
Luongo is currently a key player for Ipswich Town. Should they be promoted from the EFL Championship, which seems very likely at this point, Luongo would earn a significant bonus and the chance to play in the Premier League for the first time in his career.  

Unibet  gives Ipswich Town $4.50 odds to win the Championship outright. Most betting sites have them as one of the favourites to be promoted. Australia, meanwhile, are one of the main contenders for the 2023 Asian Cup. Graham Arnold will name his Socceroos squad for the tournament at 10am Friday AEDT.