A-Leagues legend and Western United defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has announced his retirement from professional football after the conclusion of this season.
Topor-Stanley’s career has spanned 17 years since his debut for Sydney FC in 2006, taking him to Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets, Western Sydney Wanderers and then Western United as well as Hatta Club in the United Arab Emirates.
The 38-year-old has racked up an incredible 379 appearances in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, just one game less than Leigh Broxham on the all-time appearances list.
Looking back on his career, Topor-Stanley said he will carry fond memories with him for the rest of his life after football.
“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.”
Topor-Stanley has been one of the league’s leading centre-backs for a number of years, having been a part of five Grand Final campaigns in his career.
One of those was of course in 2021/22 with Western United, Topor-Stanley’s first season in the Green and Black shirt.
The No.44 played 21 times for United across the campaign, wearing the captain’s armband on a handful of occasions before injury cruelly robbed him of the chance to play during the Finals Series.
Topor-Stanley has followed that up with 14 appearances so far this season, remaining a key leader in the dressing room with his experience at the highest level.
Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato celebrated Topor-Stanley’s decorated career and the impact he has had on United in the past two seasons.
“Nikolai will go down as a legend of Australian football and it is a bittersweet moment to see him step away from the game,” he said.
“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 teammates 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.”
Topor-Stanley’s career highlights include captaining Western Sydney Wanderers to their historic 2014 AFC Asian Champions League win, being the only Australian captain to lift that trophy.
His exemplary performances earned him three separate PFA Team of the Season selections and two A-Leagues winner’s medals – one for the 2012/13 Premiership with Western Sydney and one for Western United’s Championship win last year.
Internationally, Topor-Stanley played for the Socceroos four times and represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Everyone at Western United would like to congratulate Nikolai on a remarkable professional career and wishes him every success in his future endeavours.