'She’s been the epitome of who I am': Cahill's moving Mother's Day tribute

If Tim Cahill had listened to certain coaches growing up, he would never have fulfilled his footballing dreams and become a Caltex Socceroos legend.

Being told you are not strong enough or big enough would crush the aspirations of many youngsters trying to realise their sporting ambitions, but it made Cahill more determined to prove people wrong.

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Cahill, 39, officially retired from football earlier this year, bringing an end to a career that included 108 appearances and 50 goals for Australia.

WATCH: Tim Cahill pays tribute to his mum for her influence on his playing career

And in an interview with FIFA.com, Cahill revealed that none of it would have been possible without the sacrifices of his mother, Sisifo.

“My mum had two jobs. I think she’s been the epitome of who I am, on and off the park, to be fearless and always strive to be the best that I can be," he said.

“My mum has been the focal point to me being who I am today, which I’m very proud of.

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“I was told at a young age that I’d never be a professional footballer. [That] I’m not strong enough, not big enough, and for me that was the motivation at such a young age to kick on.

“I always knew deep down inside that I had something. To be the best or get something worth having... it has to hurt. And then you also have to think about the sacrifices your parents make. My parents sacrificed everything for me.

“So even though I was homesick at 16, 17, 18, getting injured and [having] operations and being on the other side of the world, I thought ‘how lucky am I to get this opportunity’.”

Cahill is not the only Australian star to talk recently about the major impact of their mother on their career and success.

Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan might be on the other side of the world playing for Brighton & Hove Albion in the English Premier League, but home and family is still at the forefront of his thoughts.

“I call my mum back in Australia to speak with her before the games,” Ryan said recently.

“We catch up and she sends me her wishes and makes it clear she’s very proud of what I’m doing.“

Mat Ryan with Australia fans v Uzbekistan
Mat Ryan takes a selfie with fans at this year's AFC Asian Cup