Tim Cahill has pulled the curtains on a glittering Caltex Socceroos' career.
Speaking to a media conference at the Star Casino in Darling Harbour, there was no shortage of emotion as the 38-year-old reminisced on a remarkable tenure in the Australian national team.
Here's what Timmy had to say:
On retiring from international football...
I think for me, it’s the right time.
I can pass the baton onto the guys heading into the Asian Cup – Arnie can prepare, I can be there for the boys and I was pretty much preparing in (World Cup 2018) camp making sure mentally and physically the younger boys are ready.
I spoke to Arnie and we’re going to meet up after. I’m not going anywhere, really, because I’ll always be their mentors and I’ve always made sure even in this last world cup that I make a massive impact on them individually.
The decisions they make, the way they prepare, what they eat and what it means to play for your country. It wasn’t an easy decision and I don’t want it to be a sad moment I want, it to be a celebration where I can say, “good luck boys, go and win an Asian Cup, because I know that you can.”
On what's next...
I’m always someone who keeps their cards close to their chest, not because I want to be evasive but because I feel when you make these decisions as a professional sportsman it has to be your own and it has to be organic
I’m interested in coaching. I’m going to spend some time in Australia, meet some partners and try and lay some foundations to try and do great things for soccer in Australia. I’m going to sit with the FFA, support the Hyundai A-League, support Arnie, make sure that I can still be an ambassador for the league and support the growth of football in Australia which is something I’m excited to do.
I’ll fly to the UK and start my UEFA B licence in preparation. And then I’ll open the door for offers to play football. I’ve not really entertained anyone when it comes to football because I’ve been selfish enough finally to have some serious family time and I promised I would try not to talk too much about football! International retirements done but as for domestic, I’ve still got time to decide.
On his favourite Caltex Socceroos' goal...
My favourite goal would have to be the first ever goal for the Socceroos in a world cup. You’re proud when you first put on that jersey and there was a video that I put up today when I was running out that just flows back so many memories.
The goals are just the reward. I play every game like it’s my last and that’s the message I say to every player that comes into national team camp. I treat every camp like it’s going to be my last. The goal in Brazil, the scissor kick against China – there’s so many and they all mean so much whether it’s a tap in or a beautiful strike.
On being a mentor for younger Caltex Socceroos' players...
I’m in touch with a lot of our young Socceroos’ players. There’s so much talent, especially young talent in the A-League and I think this is the most exciting thing that you’re going to see with a new set up. We’re lucky that Arnie’s been a part of the Hyundai A-League and he’s evolved as a manager.
Mentoring is important because as you get older and you don’t realise until you’re older (how important they are). Throughout my career I’ve had people like Bozza (Mark Bosnich), John Aloisi, Schwarzer, Kewell, Viduka, players that I look up to, they offered support as a player and I never forget it.
I look at (Australia’s second and third 2018 World Cup matches) Denmark as a game I thought we could’ve won, I look at Peru as another winnable game and my job is, regardless of if I’m not playing the night before is telling them, “I know we can win this game”. I’m telling them you can see a little bit of a spring in their step and that’s the mentoring side that I really enjoy. I’m still in touch with a lot of them, they text me and I think it’ll hit home the next camp not being there for myself and also the other players.
On past and present Caltex Socceroos' coaches...
I think Australian coaching is something that’s been really underrated throughout the international setup. When you look at some of the coaches I’ve worked with internationally whether it be at the start with Guus (Hiddink) and then there was Holgier (Osieck) - some of them have world class attributes.
But I think now when you see what Ange (Postecoglou) brought out in us, not just coaching but the motivational side, the drive, he played a big part in convincing me to stay on. I feel where he positioned us four years ago and the football that he stated to implement made me feel good, it made me excited.
It put a lot pressure on the players in the midfield to pass the ball, to go away to Japan and make 600 passes. I feel now transitioning into Arnie’s era that he’ll be able to reward the passing with the finishing and creating goals.
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