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Will Tim Cahill and the A-League ever meet?

cahill_milliganLast week, Tim Cahill leapt to the defence of the quality of Major League Soccer (MLS), but it still remains to be seen when he’ll realise that his views would be ever so strikingly familiar down under.

Recently, former premier league player Ashley Cole was quick to brand the MLS as a “retirement league.” This is what Cahill said in defence of Cole’s comments:

“I think it has a massive status in world football, and it was proven with the way the (U.S. national team) did in the World Cup and how they’ve done in the past World Cups. MLS is a tough league, and a lot of Premier League players can come over and think that it’s going to be easy but it’s not. It’s a league that needs to be respected, and also be mindful of the fact that it’s growing every year. You see now in the last week, AC Milan here, Roma, Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool. This is just in the last week. Everyone wants to be a part of American soccer, regardless of whether they’re playing against our league. And (European teams) also want a piece of the action commercially as well.”

Cahill was quick to point out, though, that the MLS wasn’t perfect, and that he sees the salary cap as a prevention that keeps the league from competing with the world’s biggest:

“I feel with the strategy and the structure of the payment plan really restricts MLS, which is a positive in itself because it keeps a lot of American talent and keeps the growth. But when you have a team at a cap of $3 million, it’s very difficult to attract the quality of the caliber in the Premier League. Whereas a player sitting on the bench could be on $3 million a year by himself in the Premier League.”

Oh, the striking similarities!

It seems quite strange that we are left to ponder when or if Cahill will ever come home. It’s a sobering thought, given that two years ago this is what Cahill had to say about the A-League when he decided to join MLS’ New York Red Bulls:

“Joining the A-League would have been a step backwards, and that’s no disrespect. It is basically [that] I want to still play at a high level. There is still a World Cup for me to play in and qualify for the Australian team. I didn’t speak to any A-League clubs and it was never in my plans.”

Oh, the irony! Ashley Cole, who brands the MLS as a “retirement league”, was essentially saying the same thing!

With Cahill not getting any younger, and his time playing in World Cups over, it seems that he may never come back to play in Australia.

It’s sad, considering the effect Cahill would have on our league. Yet I wonder, due to the similarities between the two leagues, what would Cahill’s thoughts be if he was playing here and another marquee being sought to play in our league said something similar to that of Ashley Cole?

May I also remind you that shortly after lobbing in what has been described as one of the best goals in World Cup history, Cahill stated that he “wanted to leave a mark for all the kids back in Australia, and around the world, to be inspired by this today.”

Inspired they may be, but they’d be inspired even more if he were to come back to play in Australia.

If he did, would Cahill be just as surprised as to the quality of the A-League as Harry Kewell was when he returned in 2011?

So many questions, but still no answers.

Photo Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty

About the author

avatarCameron is a freelance sports journalist and contributor to Ultimate A-League.

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