Shanghai Shenhua midfielder Tim Cahill has said he can do more for Australian football by going to play in the Chinese Super League than playing in the Australian A-League, although he’ll “never rule out” finishing his career at home.
The 35-year-old has just signed to play with the Chinese outfit on a lucrative one-year deal, and is reportedly to earn between A$6 and $9.6 million for roughly nine months’ work – meaning he could join an A-League club in the next January transfer window.
However, Cahill has always been uneasy about returning to play in the A-League, regularly maintaining he can do more for Australian football as an “ambassador” for the nation’s round-ball aspirations in new and emerging markets, having just spent two-and-a-half years playing in the American Major League Soccer with New York Red Bulls.
“This is much more of an impact, on Australian football, than as an [A-League] player,” the 2015 Asian Cup winner said.
“I’ll never rule it out, but if I’m going to do something in Australia, it will definitely be grassroots first, and after that, I’ll never turn anything down.”
“I’m an ambassador of football and I feel that being in New York and now Shanghai, the relationships that I’m going to bring from China through football, and sponsorships, is a whole different element that people don’t understand.”