NEW YORK (AFP, REUTERS) - Australian midfielder Tim Cahill has announced that he will be heading to China to join Shanghai Shenhua, turning down opportunities to play in Spain and even a return to the English Premier League.
The 35-year-old former Everton star left Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls by mutual consent, the club announced Monday. Cahill, who scored three goals for Australia during a triumphant run to the Asian Cup title, netted 14 goals in just over two seasons since joining the Red Bulls in July 2012. The attacking midfielder, scorer of two goals for Australia in last year's Brazil World Cup, helped the Red Bulls lead the MLS regular season crown, the Supporters' Shield, in 2013, when he was named in the league's Best 11 and All-Star teams.
Cahill considered offers to play in England, Spain and the Middle East before deciding on a move to China on Tuesday morning.
Before making to switch to China, he said he had spoken at length to his former manager at Everton David Moyes about playing for his club Real Sociedad in La Liga.
He also discussed his future with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright about a return to the Premier League, and sought the advice of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou and New York team-mate Thierry Henry.
While there were some interest from A-League clubs in Australia, no "realistic offers" were made, Cahill added.
"I respect Australian football so much (but) I've never have had an official offer in the last two months," he told Fox Sports.
"I'll make an impact in China on the pitch, I promise you. When I go somewhere I'll do it properly."
Cahill said he opted against a return to Europe in order to explore a new to chart new footballing ground.
"I'm at an age where I want to give back to football as well as play at a high level," he said.