Following the retirement of long-term friend, teammate and colleague Vincenzo Grella from professional football, PFA President Simon Colosimo takes a time-out to reflect upon Vincenzo’s fantastic career and contribution to Australian football.

Vincenzo Grella in action for the Socceroos. Image (c) Getty
On 16 November 2005, immediately after Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup, Vincenzo made a statement about what it meant to him to overcome Uruguay and have the opportunity to represent his country at the biggest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup.
“My first dream as a young player was to play in the world cup for my country, and my second was to play in Italy. I am a very lucky person. I’ll make sure that I honour the shirt in every game that I play”.
And every time Vincenzo put the shirt on for his country, he did just that.
Looking back at the days of getting a train straight from school to training in Richmond while on scholarship at the VIS, to waking up for morning gym sessions at 6am so we could fit in our high school commitments whilst at the AIS, Vincenzo has always been the player that will go beyond what is required to succeed, and succeed he did:
National Team Appearances:
Australia (U20) – 11
Australia (U23 Olyroos) – 17
Australia (Socceroos) – 46
Club Career Appearances:
95-96: Springvale City – 16
96-97: Canberra Cosmos – 14 (1 goal)
97-98: Carlton – 23 (1 goal)
98-04: Empoli – 60 (1 goal); 99-01 Ternana (loan)
04-07: Parma – 92 (2 goals)
07-08: Torino – 28 (1 goal)
08-12: Blackburn Rovers – 38
12-13: Melbourne Heart – 1
Vincenzo commanded respect. Whether it be from his AIS teammates or those from some of the biggest clubs in the world. This was not only because of his work rate and what he produced as a footballer on the field, it was evident in the changing rooms, press areas, in PFA Executive meetings and best of all over a coffee (or glass of Italian Vino), where his ‘Say it as it is attitude’ was always delivered and received with respect.
Even over the last few months that Vincenzo has spent at Melbourne Heart you could still see all that determination in every session that he did. He has kept that passion and desire to give his all in every training session or game throughout his wonderfully successful career.
Vincenzo has a strong desire to help young Aussie footballers transition and succeed in the best leagues in Europe. His passion to help ‘the little guy’ says a lot for the kind of person he is.  Having said that, he will not be the one blowing smoke up any young player’s backside, Vince will not shy away from telling a young player how it is, and this why so much can be learned from him.
Vince may no longer have his boots on, but his passion for the game and to help young players fulfill their dreams will continue.
The way he has contributed and conducted himself as part of the PFA Executive has been invaluable, and is testament to the way Vincenzo commits himself to everything he puts his mind to.
The PFA’s core values are COURAGE, WORLD CLASS, INTELLIGENCE, TRUST & RESPECT.  These are the words that describe Vincenzo, not only as a footballer but most importantly as a person.