As Tim Cahill prepares to lace up his boots for a fourth FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, the Socceroo great is focused on new beginnings – and not an end to his storied career.
Should he get the chance to play on till 2018, Cahill could join the elite club of Pele and Germany's Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose as the only players to have scored in four World Cups.
Before that can happen an arduous path of at least 18 internationals awaits the Socceroos, with the journey beginning in Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday morning (AEST).
“The reality says it’s most definitely too far to think like that. It’s just a dream like everything else I’ve been a part of,” Cahill told Fox Sports.
“It sounds great but I’ve never really focused on ‘what ifs’."
Cahill was 26 years old when he scored Australia’s first ever World Cup goal against Japan in Germany 2006, and will be 38 by the time the next tournament kicks off in Russia.
“Brazil was one of the best moments of my life along with 2006 and ’10," he said.
“Now this is probably going to be up there as one of the hardest qualifying campaigns purely because it’s another test.”
Cahill will go into the clash against the world no. 177 Kyrgyzstan without the usual swag of goals that has followed him around the world.
Cahill has netted just once - from the penalty spot - in 13 games for new club Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League but is unperturbed by his recent return.
“It's life you know. I’m 35-years-old, fourth continent I’ve played in in the world,” said Cahill.
“I play for a massive club but it is what it is.
“In most leagues that I’ve played in, whether it’s been the Premier League, America, the same thing.
“When I went to America exactly the same thing happened.
“You can’t go there and think that it’s all going to fall into place. Second season in America we won the Supporters Shield and I won the MVP.
“You can read into it what you want but it’s only been 13 games.”
Despite Kyrgyzstan’s lowly ranking Cahill said their opposition is not an altogether unknown and doubts the Socceroos will have it all their own way in Bishkek.
“We’ve watched a lot of video of them and they’ve got two players especially in the middle, two midfielders that can create play and they don’t play sideways, those two like to thread the balls through and create problems,” he said.
“So most of all if we can believe in what we’ve done in the past and our training methods then hopefully we can get the right result for the first game of the campaign.”
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