Schwarzer keeps raising the bar

Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer keeps raising the bar for both club and country as he looks ahead to the future.

Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer keeps raising the bar for both club and country as he looks ahead to the future.

He may be 35 in October, but Schwarzer shows no sign of slowing down for club and country and is set to break several milestones over the next year for both.

Schwarzer, who earlier this month said that he would put his hand up to play against Argentina on September 11 in Melbourne, will this weekend make his 300th Premiership appearance for Middlesbrough, which puts him in a select band of players.

He will be only the 15th player to achieve that feat with just the one club and in terms of foreign players is on the 2nd player behind former Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.

Schwarzer began his career at Boro in 1997 and if he can play in all games this season, will pass as many as eight players on the list above him. He will need to play in 16 games to surpass Bergkamp-s tally of 315 appearances for Arsenal.

On the international front, Schwarzer lies equal 2nd with 51 appearances, 6 behind his long-time rival Zeljko Kalac (57), who retired from international football last year. Kalac is the record holder for the most number of appearances by a goalkeeper for Australia and with Schwarzer indicating he wants to go on to the next World Cup in 2010 and a busy schedule ahead over the next few years, he should eclipse Kalac-s mark as some stage in 2008.

Next month-s international against Argentina is one match he is looking forward to, despite the arduous Asia Cup campaign in July that was played in searing temperatures and humidity.

“It-s always great to play these sorts of games,” he said. “They (Argentina) are a world class side, in the top three or four teams in the world and have been for a long, long time.

“It-s always an incredible experience to play against nations of this calibre.”

Asked to name just a few of the players he is looking forward to playing against Schwarzer was hard to pressed to name just a couple given the number of world class players in the Argentine squad.

“There is so many you can pick out, so it-s difficult to pick out one or two players. Tevez is one of the most talked about players at the moment, you look at guys like Aimar, Riquelme, there is just so many, you can go on, and on, and on. It-s going to be difficult to play against them. ”

Schwarzer says while the public will be wanting a result against the world number two ranked nation, he believes it-s the performance more than anything that the players will regard as most important.

“I think what-s important is the performance, especially coming off the back of the Asian Cup. We need to perform really well. We have to be realistic, we are playing one of the best teams in the world and if you can get a good result against them then that-s fantastic and we will try and do that, as we want to win every game.”

While he was not aware of any player officially saying the Argentina game would be their last for Australia, Schwarzer was adamant that if it were then the Australian public should come out and show their appreciation.

“If that is going to be the case (of players retiring), what would be great is the Australian public came out and really supported those players in particular. They have been great servants to the team and had a great time being associated with the team and really deserve the support of the public.”

Tickets for Australia-s match against Argentina on Tuesday September 11 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, can be purchased at