Former England and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 36.
Cahill, who made 61 appearances 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 now is the time to hang up his boots.
Cahill exclusively said sky sports: “Obviously, it has been a difficult decision in some aspects, but I think I knew that the trip had to come to an end at some point. It gave me the feeling that now is the right time.
“He had options. He could have played in the Premier League with one team and he had a couple of options in the Championship, which is flattering for offers.”
“But at the moment, in addition to my career, my children are settled in school and it would have meant moving again.”
Cahill broke into the England squad during his time at Bolton Wanderers and earned his first cap against Bulgaria in a 4–0 win in September 2010. In doing so, he became the first Bolton player to play for England since Michael Ricketts in 2002.
“It was huge because at the time, a lot of the England team were in the top teams and I don’t mean that as a disrespect to Bolton who took the opportunity to buy me.” [from Aston Villa]Cahill said.
“They put me on the team week after week and 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 on the January 2012 transfer market. His greatest achievement was being part of the team that lifted the Champions League in 2012, winning eight major honors during his time at Stamford Bridge.
“Being involved in such a successful team was the pinnacle of your playing days,” Cahill added.
“It’s what you strive for when you start playing to get to the top and try to get involved in a team that can challenge and compete for trophies.
“To be in a locker room with such big names that were there at the time, the roster was huge, players who have moved on and accomplished so many great things in the game, coming in as a young player was incredible for me.”
After leaving Chelsea as a free agent in 2019, Cahill joined Crystal Palace for a two-year spell in which he made 47 appearances in all competitions under former England manager Roy Hodgson.
The former Bolton and Aston Villa centre-back was unable to agree a new contract with the Eagles after weeks of talks in 2021, so he joined Bournemouth on a short-term deal for the 2021/22 campaign.
Cahill did not renew his contract despite making 22 league appearances in the Cherries’ promotion from the Championship, and a decision is yet to be made on whether to move to management or technical management.
“Everyone is different, and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I want to take some time away from football and just enjoy watching it.”
“I’m conscious of not diving into something right away, so I’ll be spending time with family. I’ll make a decision about the next chapter of my life after Christmas.”