RICHMOND defender Bachar Houli prays that former teammate Alex Rance reconsiders his sudden retirement, but respects his decision to step away from the game.

Rance, a five-time All-Australian, shocked the football world when he announced just before Christmas that he was hanging up the boots after 200 games with the Tigers.


Houli said Rance's departure had yet to truly sink in.

"Everyone is sad that he has stepped away from the game, but I pray that he comes back because he such an incredible player, but more importantly, an incredible person," Houli told reporters at the launch of the revamped Australian Sports Museum at the MCG.

"I pray that he comes back, but more importantly, we pray that he continues to be happy and to fulfil what he wants to fulfil in life.

Things happen and there is more to life than just football.

- Bachar Houli on Alex Rance

"(Rance) admitted he struggled to balance his life to an extent and we all go through that.

"We are not perfect human beings, but I am sure if he can balance other things in life and be able to incorporate all this I have confidence that he will return, but that is obviously his decision."

Visitors to the Australian Sports Museum will be able to watch a life-sized hologram of the Tigers' premiership defender tell the story of his life in football. The museum will re-open on February 29 after a $17 million renovation.

Bachar Houli and his life-sized hologram at the revamped Australian Sports Museum at the MCG. Picture: Melbourne Cricket Club