Former England and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 36.
Cahill, who has 61 caps and scored five goals for his country, has been without a club since leaving Bournemouth in the summer.
The two-time Premier League winner believes it’s time to hang up his boots.
Cahill in particular Sports sky: “Obviously, it was a difficult decision in some respects but I think I know that the journey has to end at some stage. I just have a feeling that now is the right time.
“I had options. I could have played in the Premier League with one side and I have a couple of options in the Championship, it’s nice to still get offers.
“But now, as with my career, my children are settled in school and that means I have to move again.”
Cahill joined England during his time at Bolton Wanderers, and made his debut against Bulgaria in a 4–0 win in September 2010. As a result, he became the first Bolton player to play for England. since Michael Ricketts in 2002.
“It was very important because at the time a lot of England players were in top teams and I didn’t mean to disrespect Bolton, who took the opportunity to buy me. [from Aston Villa]”Cahill said.
“They put me in the team week in, week out and they gave me the platform to learn, make mistakes, grow as a player and grow as a man.”
Cahill is best remembered for his seven years at Chelsea, who bought him for £7m in the January 2012 transfer window. His biggest achievement was being in the 2012 Champions League-winning squad. and he won eight major trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Cahill added: “Being involved in such a successful team is the pinnacle of your playing days.
“That’s what you strive for when you first start playing to get to the top and try to be on a team that can challenge and compete for the title.
“To be in the dressing room with such big figures at the time – the list is huge – players who have gone on and achieved so many great things in the game, coming in as a player. Being young is great for me.”
After leaving Chelsea as a free agent in 2019, Cahill joined Crystal Palace for a two-year term, where he made 47 appearances in all competitions under former England manager Roy Hodgson.
The former Bolton and Aston Villa midfielder was unable to reach an agreement on a new Eagles contract after weeks of negotiations in 2021, so he joined Bournemouth on a short-term deal for the 2021/22 campaign.
Cahill has not renewed his contract despite 22 league appearances helping the Cherries to be promoted from the Championship – and he has yet to make a decision on whether he will move into management or coaching.
“Everybody is different, and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I want to take a break from football for a while and just enjoy watching it.”
“I’m aware that I won’t jump right into something, so I’ll spend time with my family. I’ll make a decision about the next chapter of my life after Christmas.”