Sport

Dodgy knees no match for Ned Zelic's competitive instinct against Liverpool Legends

Former Socceroo Ned Zelic knows his knees will give him grief for the best part of a week after he walks off ANZ Stadium on Thursday night, but the Canberra junior says the pain is worth it for the chance to play the Liverpool Legends.

Zelic will line-up alongside Australian greats - and potentially NFL convert Jarryd Hayne - in an exhibition match which will showcase some of the biggest names in Socceroos and Liverpool history.

Liverpool are rolling out the big guns, with Steven Gerrard taking the captain's armband and joined by Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher and Luis Garcia.

The Socceroos have picked a team of legends, including Zelic, Mark Bosnich, Brett Emerton, Robbie Slater and Craig Foster.

Zelic played for 11 clubs - including German giants Borussia Dortmund - around Europe across almost 20 years, forging a reputation as a hard-nosed defender who could match any player in the world.

He still has the competitive instinct. The only difference now is that two decades of international action have taken their toll on the cartilage in his knees.

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"I still catch up with friends every now and then and have a kick down the field," Zelic said.

"You're meant to enjoy games like this and it's going to be fun, but when the ball's in play you go back to wanting to win every challenge and play every pass.

"I think the boys will be taking it pretty seriously ... I had bad knees when I was still playing and I needed a few days to recover after games because of the various operations I had.

"I probably could have played on for another year but I could have destroyed my knees. They've been holding up OK for now, which is surprising."

Hayne flew into Sydney on Wednesday after his stint with the San Francisco 49ers.

Organisers have already produced a No.38 jersey for the Liverpool fanatic if he is able to get on the field.

His presence would be a major boost for what is expected to be an already bumper crowd for an exhibition game, and Zelic said he had no qualms with the former Parramatta Eels superstar suiting up.

"We still don't know if he's going to play but we've heard he might make a cameo appearance," Zelic said of Hayne.

"There are a lot of games overseas where you've got football players and a tennis player or F1 driver might get invited.

"I've got no issue if Jarryd plays, it would be great. The focus will be on him if he turns up, but really it's on the legends who are out here with Liverpool. That's the real fascinating thing."

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