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Kewell Biography

Harry Kewell
Harry Kewell

Harry Kewell (born September 22, 1978 in Smithfield, Sydney), is an Australian soccer player who currently plays for Galatasaray in the Turkish Superlig. He is arguably the most well-known footballer ever to come out of Australia.

Kewell was raised in Sydney by his English-born father, Rod, and Australian mother, Helen. He was educated at Smithfield Public School, Westfields Sports High School and New South Wales Academy. At age 15, Kewell and his future Socceroo teammate Brett Emerton travelled to England to trial with English Premiership football club Leeds United. Both were offered contracts but only Kewell was able to take up the offer, thanks to his father’s heritage.

Kewell is married to English soap star Sheree Murphy, whom he met at the Majestyk club in 2000. They were married in Las Vegas in May 2003 and have two children, son Taylor (born 2001) and daughter Ruby Heather Toni (born 2003).

He has ended his lucrative football boot deal with adidas to in order to wear boots made by Brisbane company Nomis, for free.

• In the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, he was the leading scorer of left-footed goals in the Premiership.
• In an interview with Matthew Johns on the The Footy Show which aired May 18, 2006, Kewell pronounced his support of the Canterbury Bulldogs NRL team.
• Harry shares his birthday with Brazilian star Ronaldo. Despite Kewell knowing this fact and praising him as the “very best”, Ronaldo claimed to have “never heard of” the Australian.
• There is a DVD following the career of Kewell titled Harry Kewell’s Cool World, released by Sony BMG in October 2004 and re-released in May 2006.
• Kewell is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Professional Footballers’ Association.

Kewell made his Leeds debut as a 17-year-old on 30 March 1996 in a 1-0 home defeat by Middlesbrough. Kewell made his Australia debut in April 1996 in 3-0 defeat by Chile. The first goal he scored for Leeds came some time later, in October 1997, in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Stoke City.

Playing mostly in a left midfield role and in attack, Kewell became one of Leeds’ young stars in a troop of highly promising youngsters, eventually forming a striking partnership with fellow Australian Mark Viduka. The high point of this period was when they helped Leeds to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League in 2000-01. However, the club began to suffer financial difficulties and, by 2002-03, having sold many of their best players, Kewell and Viduka’s efforts in front of goal merely prevented Leeds’ slide from being relegated from the Premiership.

Kewell left Leeds under acrimonious circumstances. In an infamous interview given to the BBC shortly before his move to Liverpool, Kewell lashed out against the staff at the club, stating that the medical staff worsened his injuries and that his teammates had ostracized him.

Kewell moved to Liverpool for the start of the 2003-04 season, reportedly snubbing an offer from Manchester United. The transfer was highly controversial because it was alleged that a significant portion (£2m of the £5m) went to Kewell’s unregistered agent to ensure that he ended up at Anfield. Kewell’s transfer has ensured a hostile reception for him from the Leeds United faithful whenever Kewell faces his old club. In a related matter, Kewell sued Gary Lineker in 2005 for defamation of character, but, with the jury unable to agree on a verdict, the parties had to settle out of court.

On 25 May 2005, Kewell became only the second Australian (after Craig Johnston) to win the UEFA Champions League, playing in Liverpool’s win over A.C. Milan on penalties. Kewell was controversially selected by Benítez ahead of the defensive midfielder Hamann, signalling the club’s intent to attack from the outset. The gamble was not successful, and an injured Kewell was substituted early in the first half with a torn adductor muscle. Some sectors of the Liverpool crowd booed him, believing Harry was withholding effort in such a crucial game. Since October 2004, Kewell had to play through a number of injuries, often only playing a handful of games before the injuries forced him back on the sidelines.

In November 2005, after recovering from the injury sustained during the final, Kewell spoke to the Liverpool FC official website, saying that he had a strong desire to repay his manager Rafael Benitez for showing confidence in him by fielding him in the Champions League Final. He also thanked his wife and friends for the support shown to him while he recovered from injury. He also re-stated the severity of the injury which had forced him off in the Final and told his doubters that they were misguided to question the severity of his injury.

Kewell’s form for Liverpool in the 2005-06 English Premier League season showed significant improvement, lending support to his assertion that his prior mediocre performance was the result of poor health rather than apathy.

Kewell played in the 2005-2006 FA Cup Final, only to be substituted in the 48th minute due to abdominal pains. It was later confirmed by Liverpool that he had torn a groin muscle, but was expected to be fit for the World Cup.

International career
King Harry, on The West Australian newspaperIn November 1997, Kewell was selected to play for Australia in the country’s upcoming World Cup qualifying match against Iran. At the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, in front of an estimated crowd of 120,000, Kewell scored his first ever goal for his country and gave Australia a 1-0 lead. Iran eventually drew level and the game resulted in a 1-1 draw, which set up a tense return game in Melbourne.

A then-record crowd of 85,000 – at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – witnessed the second leg of this World Cup qualifier against Iran, as well as Kewell’s second goal. The Socceroos eventually stretched their lead to two goals but Iran fought back and scored two vital away goals to finish the game 2-2 and qualify for the World Cup.

World Cup 2006
In November 2005, Australia qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup taking place in Germany. It was the first time Australia had qualified for the World Cup since 1974 when it was held in West Germany. To reach the World Cup Australia beat Uruguay in a two-legged play-off. Kewell was considered instrumental in the Socceroos’ defeat of Uruguay, turning the course of the match when he entered as a substitute. He scored the first penalty for Australia in the deciding penalty shootout, which they went on to win 4-2.

Kewell played, somewhat surprisingly given a reported groin injury, in Australia’s opening game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup against Japan in Germany. He did not start for Australia in their second group match against Brazil but again entered as a substitute, missing an early opportunity when Dida punched the ball out dangerously. Kewell was reported to FIFA by referee Markus Merk for verbal abuse after the match but he escaped being sanctioned.

In the Croatia vs Australia game Kewell scored Australia’s second goal to equal the score at 2-2. Australia only needed a draw to qualify for the second round for the first time, and thus it was probably the most important goal ever scored by an Australian for his country. While the referee, Graham Poll did not notice it, later footage showed Kewell was in an offside position. Australian Prime Minister, John Howard and later The West Australian newspaper referred to Kewell as “King Harry”.

Due to suspected gout, (later diagnosed as septic arthritis — a bacterial infection in the joints of his left foot) Kewell was unable to play against Italy in the knockout stage, which saw Australia eliminated from the World Cup after Lucas Neill conceded a controversial penalty, which was converted by Francesco Totti in the final seconds of the game.

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