Tim Cahill in Sydney on Monday. He’ll play his final game for the Socceroos on November 20. Picture: Brett Costello
Tim Cahill in Sydney on Monday. He’ll play his final game for the Socceroos on November 20. Picture: Brett Costello

Cahill’s farewell match confirmed

NEARLY four decades later, Tim Cahill is going back to where it all began.

The Socceroos' greatest goalscorer will get the chance for an international farewell - and maybe yet another goal for his country - just a stone's throw from where he was born, and where seasons of junior football moulded an extraordinary career.

A "humbled" Cahill, who quit international football after the World Cup, will make one final - and emotional - appearance in the green and gold at ANZ Stadium on November 20, tickets for which go on general sale on Tuesday.

Less than three weeks short of his 39th birthday, the Cahill farewell seems certain to sell out a stadium where he scored four of his 50 international goals - including two crucial strikes against Syria a year earlier.

"You play for your country and I've done a lot, but to be asked to have this game by the FFA and [new Socceroos boss] Graham Arnold was massively humbling," Cahill said.

"As a player you just play, then you retire. So to be acknowledged this way is a huge moment.

"We've shared so many amazing moments as a country, and this is a chance to say thank you to Australia for the support - and to enjoy an emotional and magical moment that will stay with me for ever.

"It's a nice place to go out, and maybe a nice place to score my last goal. Because if I play two minutes or 10 minutes, 100 per cent I'm going to try to score."

A lengthy holiday since the World Cup has reaffirmed the wisdom of Cahill's decision to retire now, rather than try to play on to next year's Asian Cup.

"We're sitting here now and the team are in camp in Turkey - and I'm fine with that," he said. "It's nice being free. It's nice having time to chill with the family. But for it to come full circle, and finish as it has, couldn't be better.

 

Tim Cahill celebrates scoring for Australia against South Africa in Sydney in 2014. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Tim Cahill celebrates scoring for Australia against South Africa in Sydney in 2014. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Four World Cups, Asian Cups, you name it and we've done it. We've had highs and lows but I've never taken it for granted."

Not even being limited to 20 minutes' action at the World Cup will tarnish any memories.

"There's nothing for me to regret - I gave everything (in Russia)," he said. "You saw me training over there, and my (fitness) portfolio over there is something I will frame because I'm proud of being 38 years old and fit.

"Those 20-odd minutes against Peru, it's any kid's dream. There's nothing for me to regret."

Cahill will play on at club level having signed for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Premier League, a move greeted with bizarre disapproval in parts of football's social media circles.

"The market is massive, and I have no responsibilities in terms of the Socceroos," he said. "The league is very short, it has lots of breaks, and I spoke to a lot of Australian cricketers.

"The owners have big ideas, and we're encouraging kids in India to play football. It's a market that excites me, and when you're 75kg and training the way I am, I still love playing football. I love being a leader, creating an atmosphere."

Luckily, his new club have agreed to one more international commitment.

"A lot of players don't get this opportunity to say goodbye and I'm privileged," Cahill said. "Then I can just be a fan, the thing I've not been able to do my whole life."



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