Tim Cahill announced on Tuesday that he has signed with Chinese football club Shanghai Shenhua, just days after Australia won football’s Asian Cup.
The Socceroos star’s latest move ends his term with Major League Soccer club the New York Red Bulls. It also dashed Australian fans’ hopes that the 35-year-old would make a return home to the A-League to see out the twilight of his career.
“I respect Australian football so much (but) I’ve never have had an official offer in the last two months,” Cahill told Fox Sports.
“I’ll make an impact in China on the pitch, I promise you.
“When I go somewhere I’ll do it properly.”
Cahill said he fielded offers to play in the English Premier League as well as in Spain’s La Liga via his former Everton manager David Moyes before settling on the brave new world of the Chinese Super League.
“I’m at an age where I want to give back to football as well as play at a high level,” he said.
“I’ve made the decision purely because I’ve played in the Premier League and did really well and it was a massive compliment to get the phone calls I did last night and to speak to Moyes about possibly going to La Liga,” Cahill said.
“I’ve done the Premier League, I’ve done America. New York was amazing for me … (but) China is a growing market in football.
“You see in the (Asian Cup quarter-final) game that we played against China, millions of people watched it and I’m someone who is embracing culture and a different aspect of life.
“It’s all about doing what I want to do as footballer and trying different leagues and I think it’s exciting.”
IMAGE: Tim Cahill celebrates after the Socceroos won the 2015 Asian Cup final match between Korea Republic and the Australia at ANZ Stadium on January 31, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)