Socceroos superstar Tim Cahill will continue his club career with Shanghai Shenhua, having left the New York Red Bulls as a free agent.
Cahill had also been linked with a return to the English Premier League or with a move to Spain or the Middle East.
Australia’s all-time leading international scorer said there had been no realistic offers from A-League clubs.
He said he was excited by the challenge of continuing his career in a massive growing market in China.
Cahill enjoyed a wonderful campaign in the Socceroos’ Asian Cup triumph, scoring three goals and again proving himself to be a valuable offensive force as he enters the twilight of his career.
The 35-year-old had a year to run on his $US3.5 million ($A4.5 million) contract with the Red Bulls, but the two came to a mutual agreement on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) that allowed Cahill to become a free agent.
Cahill scored 11 goals in 27 appearances for the Red Bulls and helped lead them to the best regular-season record in 2013, earning them the Supporters’ Shield.
“I’ve been on the phone to (former Everton manager and Real Sociedad boss) David Moyes, I spoke with (former Arsenal and New York star) Thierry Henry and also the chairman Bill Kenright at Everton and (Socceroos coach) Ange (Postecoglou) this morning,” said Cahill.
“I’ve made the decision purely because I’ve played in the Premier League and did really well and it was a massive compliment to get the phone calls I did last night and to speak to Moyes about possibly going to La Liga.
“I’ve done the Premier League, I’ve done America. New York was amazing for me … (but) China is a growing market in football.
“You see in the (Asian Cup quarter-final) game that we played against China, millions of people watched it and I’m someone who is embracing culture and a different aspect of life.
“I’m at an age where I want to give something back to football and still play at a high level.
” … it’s all about doing what I want to do as footballer and trying different leagues and I think it’s exciting.
“To still be in demand and have the offers I’ve had is special but this will be massive for me as a player on and off the park.”
Cahill said he had talks with Sydney FC officials “but as far as offers, there was nothing”.
Cahill said he would continue his international career for as long as Postecoglou wanted him in the Australian team.
“My plans are to support the boss,” he said.
“My vision for the last 14 months has been to be a team player.
“It’s never been about me and, when you do things like that, you know you’ve got a captain in Mile Jedinak that I also spoke to who supports you, (Mark) Bresciano and the boss. We’ve gone on this journey together to help Australian football grow and also let people understand the effort that we’re going to.
“The boss knows my plans for the national team and I’m always there for him on and off the park and I will always leave that decision to him because he’s definitely someone who’s changed the footprint of football in Australia in my opinion.
“His love for the sport and his country is on a whole different level.
“Ange is definitely up there as one of the biggest influences on my footballing career even though it’s only been 14 months.”
Cahill said he would decide in coming days whether his contract with Shanghai Shenhua would be for one or two years.