FORMER Blackburn Rovers star Brett Emerton has announced that he will play the final match of his career on Saturday.

Emerton made almost 300 appearances for Rovers between 2003 and 2011, as well as collecting 94 caps for Australia.

The 34-year-old returned to his homeland to play for Sydney FC but has battled persistent back problems and will retire after Saturday’s A-League clash against Central Coast Mariners.

"I've had back-related issues for several years now," Emerton said.

"I've had a few injections along the way and I promised myself after the last injection at the start of the season it would be my last and it was coming time to either have another one or give the game away.

"The decision to retire wasn't easy. It's been my life for almost 20 years now.

"I've had a fantastic career and I was incredibly fortunate to play professional football for 18 years but I know now is the right time to call it a day.

"I hope to be able to stay in the game moving forward and continue to contribute to Australian football."