After playing his final game for Australia, record breaking Socceroo goal scorer Tim Cahill says it’s the camaraderie with the fans he will miss the most.
More than two hours after the referee blew the final whistle of his farewell game, Tim Cahill was still at ANZ Stadium signing autographs, hanging out and taking selfies with fans.
After Australia defeated Lebanon 3-0 it was obvious the veteran striker was intent on breathing in the final moments of his 108 game Socceroos career.
“It’s everything you could dream of or wish for as a footballer at the end of your career," he said. “Even leading into it I was really proud, really happy and content.
“Because I know that everything that I’ve ever done for my country has been for the right reasons, it’s not just about scoring it’s about this sort of stuff and I’m taking all of it in.”
Cahill revealed that spending time with the fans was one of the responsibilities that he took seriously as a Socceroo.
“I’m going to sign every single autograph 'til we all go because this is why I am who I am now, on and off the park,” he said. “This is priceless.
“I will miss this, you talk about signing things - I have done this consistently my whole life, the grass roots, kids you can’t get them coming back unless you put time and effort into them.
“And they can see that. I got kids all the same ages as these guys and all I can do is what I have done off the park consistently over the last ten years.”
When Cahill entered the pitch at the 80th minute the crowd of over 32,000 at ANZ Stadium gave arguably Australia’s greatest ever player a standing ovation.
Unfortunately the fairytale finish didn’t eventuate with the striker of five World Cup goals missing out on a chance to score due to the intervention of a Lebanese defender crushing Socceroos fans' hopes.
“You know what? I ran near [post] to back [post] and I thought he misjudged it,” the 38-year-old said of his missed chance. “I thought this is going to be a nice little tap in in the bottom left hand corner.
“But it was just nice to touch the ball. I feel like I am in dream world.”
In terms of what the future holds, Cahill said he won’t be lost to Australian football and offered his services as a mentor.
“I am going to step away and go to my club in India and play in a few days and enjoy that," he said. “I’m going to have a good break during the Asian Cup.
"Arnie (Graham Arnold) has got my number, the boys (in the Socceroos) have got my number.
“I can come and go for any club in Australian soccer. A-League coaches, I said to Kevin Muscat and John Aloisi that they can contact me any time, anyone can.
“I have no affiliation with anyone other than helping the game.”