Aussie skipper Neill released by club

06 June 2012 10:47

Australia captain Lucas Neill has been released by his UAE club Al Jazira, leaving his future unclear in the middle of World Cup qualifying, a report said Wednesday.

The ex-Blackburn Rovers defender, who is expected to lead Australia against Oman on Friday, has been let go after less than a year at the Abu Dhabi-based outfit, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website.

Al Jazira, bankrolled by billionaire Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, were knocked out of the AFC Champions League in the round of 16 on penalties last month, with Neill, 34, missing a crucial spot-kick.

Australian media said the Socceroos skipper's deal had been set to expire at the end of this month. Fellow Australian international Harry Kewell's contract is also up with A-League team Melbourne Victory, reports said.

Australia are embarking on the final phase of Asian qualifying for the 2014 Brazil World Cup, starting with Friday's game against Oman in Muscat.

There was no immediate confirmation of Neill's departure, although he was not named amongst the first team on the club's website.

The club has also replaced coach Caio Junior with fellow Brazilian Paulo Bonamigo, according to a Khaleej Times report quoting Sheikh Mansour.

Source: AFP