Tim Cahill has revealed that recent upheaval and strange management at the New York Red Bulls was why he decided to leave Major League Soccer and move to China.
Cahill joined Shanghai Shenhua earlier this week after winning the Asian Cup with Australia and spoke to Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated to talk about his career and decision to leave North America.
Cahill had spent three years with the Red Bulls are joining from Premier League side Everton. The 35-year old built a reputation for himself as a goalscoring midfielder and brought those talents to New York.
Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis has fired beloved head coach Mike Petke and shipped out several key figures in the New York roster. Cahill revealed that a rebuild really doesn't interest him at this late stage of his career.
“To be honest, it probably was a new transition for the club, and I am an older player,” he said. “It’s a new change. When I first got there, we were part of that new change. And we changed the club and we really did help grow the club and the brand and everything. Now it’s starting all over again, and it’s difficult."
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“But I feel when you start all over again, at 35 years old I don’t know whether I’m ready to do that."
Cahill then went on to rattle through the losses of key players that he just couldn't put up with, heaping praise on Ambroise Oyongo and Eric Alexander in particular, two top performers for New York last season.
"Especially with some influential players [gone]: Oyongo, one of the top performers from last year; Eric Alexander, the most consistent player I ever played with at the Red Bulls, a player that me and Thierry spoke very highly of time and time again; Olave, one of the best defenders in the league," the Aussie added.
But what drew Cahill's ire the most was the sacking of head coach Mike Petke. Petke is and will always be a Red Bull's legend. A man who had gotten the team to the cusp of MLS glory and was completely loved by fans, fans who were willing to protest when the news of his firing broke.
I texted him straight away,” Cahill said. “You always have respect for your manager regardless, and he couldn’t have done any more unless we’d won the MLS Cup. So he should and hopefully will get another job in the MLS surely on his portfolio.
"Two seasons: Supporters' Shield and one goal from the final. So I really feel for him. He’s a fan favorite. They loved him, but they loved him for a reason. Because he loved the club more than anyone else ever will. I know that for a fact.”
So Cahill's time in New York is over and so with it is the Red Bull's first experiment that saw him and Thierry Henry coming in. I would like to say the club are in a better place since 2012, but at the moment it's not that easy to tell.
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