Socceroos superstar Tim Cahill has not totally ruled out one day playing in the Hyundai A-League but claims his move to China will be just as beneficial for football in Australia.
Cahill announced last week he was joining Chinese Super League Club Shanghai Shenhua on a deal reportedly worth close to $10million.
While Australian fans were hoping the 35-year-old – the Socceroos greatest-ever goal-scorer - would have returned home to play in the domestic competition, Cahill says this next chapter of his career will be just as important for the local game.
“This is much more of an impact on Australian football I feel than as a player, purely because of my actions as a footballer for the Socceroos,” Cahill said at the Sydney launch of New Balance on Monday.
“Every time I play, I play like it’s going to be my last game, every time I’m in camp I try and help lead the group and really try and influence them mentally on what makes them tick.
“I’ll never rule it out (playing in the A-League) but if I’m going to do anything in Australia it’s going to be grassroots first.
“I’m an ambassador for football. Being in New York, being in Shanghai, with the relationships that I’m going to bring to Australia with football and sponsorship is a whole different element which people don’t understand.
"Regardless of what anyone thinks of the move, people will read about what I am doing in China. I want to do well on the pitch and off the pitch for Australia. I will make all the right noises."
There has also been speculation that Cahill could become the owner of a new Hyundai A-League club in years to come.
While he didn’t rule it out, Cahill indicated it wasn’t something that was on his agenda just yet.
"I feel that moving forward if something was to happen it would be a conversation I would have face to face with David Gallop and Frank Lowy," he said.
"There's always going to be people talking about me being an owner, and who knows... but at the moment it's no."
Proud to announce my partnership for Grassroots football in Australia @nbfootball @newbalanceaustralia @newbalance @tc4academy This is a massive moment for me help kids follow their dreams. #OurKidsAreOurFuture
A photo posted by Tim Cahill (@tim_cahill) on Feb 8, 2015 at 8:09pm PST
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou
When to watch your Caltex Socceroos this weekend
There's FA Cup action on the cards for two Australians this weekend as another prepares for a massive top-of-the-table encounter. Multiple players are involved in matches with major title ramifications, while Mark Milligan has a new manager to impress in Scotland. Read on t