Tim Cahill has called time on his illustrious Socceroos career, but the door remains ajar – ever so slightly – on the possibility his club career may not be over.
Australia’s leading international goalscorer confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday that he has retired from international football after scoring 50 goals in 107 appearances.
It comes following his cameo off the bench against Peru last month at the World Cup in Russia, which marked his fourth appearance at the global showpiece tournament.
Cahill, now 38, had scored in the previous three. Those achievements will almost certainly stand the test of time in Australia. But, conspicuously, there was no word on whether he would continue playing domestically.
Cahill’s chief motivation over the last few years – during stints at two Chinese clubs, A-League side Melbourne City and Millwall in England – had been to get himself to a fourth World Cup by whatever means necessary.
With that ticked off, it is hard to see what else is left for Cahill to achieve in football – or whether his body could cope with what would be a 23rd season as a professional.
Cahill will likely answer those questions – and reveal his thoughts about the way Bert van Marwijk used him in Russia for the first time – when he fronts a press conference in Sydney on Friday. He did not speak to media after Australia’s clash with Denmark, when van Marwijk controversially left him on the bench as they searched for a winning goal, or after his 37-minute spell against Peru.
Regardless, Cahill will go down as perhaps the greatest Socceroo of all time. He wasn’t the most individually talented player to pull on the green and gold jersey – the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka had him covered – but he was the most important.
Teammates speak in awe of Cahill’s ultra-professional attitude and dressing-room influence, and he will leave behind a big hole as new coach Graham Arnold takes up the reins and moves the team forward into a new era without their legendary talisman.
Many of Cahill’s goals came at moments when Australia needed them the most – in World Cups, Asian Cups and must-win qualifiers. The Socceroos will never see a player like him again.
‘‘Every single cap has been an honour,’’ Cahill said in a statement. ‘‘Australian football fans have been so good to me and I am incredibly grateful for their passionate support throughout my career. The Socceroos jersey has always meant so much to those of us who are privileged enough to wear it because it represents every single person who has supported us.’’