For over seven years, Gary Cahill was not only a fixture in the Chelsea starting lineup, he was central to some of Chelsea’s most glorious moments in club history. Unfortunately for him (and for us), his last season at the club was far from the resounding success that his career had been until then.
Under head coach Maurizio Sarri, England’s Brave got only 22 Premier League minutes, and wasn’t even selected for the bench in the final meaningless game (Chelsea already assured of a top four finish) of the league season.
“The situation was always going to end in me leaving, it’d gone too far one way. Especially with the manager there, it was always going to happen.
“When you don’t play two or three games on the spin it’s difficult to break into the team, and I could’ve broken into that team. You have to play two, three or four games in a row to get a chance and I didn’t get that.”
It was a bitter pill to swallow, to be phased out so summarily and reportedly without much communication, for someone who had been such a big player for the club for so many years, but Cahill took it all with good professionalism and has not let it affect how he remembers his time at the club.
“I think you never saw on the outside how tough it was, to be honest. It’s something I never want to get used to, I’ve played a heavy part in every season I’ve been at that club, so it was a freak [season].
“It’s erased out of my life, it was a horrible year but I won’t remember it in my career at Chelsea, I’ll remember all the seasons before that and how successful they were. I leave the club with some fantastic friends, the staff and players are phenomenal. I’ll leave with great memories.”
Cahill, 33, had several offers this summer after leaving the club, but eventually did manage to stay in the Premier League by joining Crystal Palace a couple weeks ago. While he’s yet to feature for them in the first two games of the season, he should have plenty of opportunities to prove that he is still able to do a pretty good job at the top level of English football.
“In terms of my hunger, I got asked a question about what I want to do after winning this, that and the other at Chelsea.
“That’s what I want to do, to go out and perform back to the levels I know I’m capable of, the levels you can produce with consistent games and to win football matches. The motivation is there in me, no question.”
-Gary Cahill; source: Sky Sports
Cahill’s time at Chelsea may not have ended the way his time in the club would’ve deserved, but as time passes, we’ll remember the good and forget the bad and unseemly. Until then, we wish Cahill all the best in the remaining years of his playing career, except of course if he ends up facing Chelsea in a game.