Chelsea’s outgoing club captain Gary Cahill was proud to help lift the Europa League in his final match before embarking on a new challenge.
When brought in from Bolton for £7million in January 2012, neither player nor club could have imagined just how successful his stint at Stamford Bridge would be.
Cahill added a second a Europa League title to his Champions League winners’ medal and numerous domestic honours on Wednesday as Maurizio Sarri’s Blues swatted aside London rivals Arsenal 4-1.
The 33-year-old did not come on for a farewell appearance in the Baku Olympic Stadium finale, but skipper Cesar Azpilicueta made sure that the pair lifted the trophy together.
“It was a fantastic experience, great to be involved in a great end to the season,” Cahill said.
“The lads deserved to win the game. It was a great feeling, lifting the trophy, and being a part of this group that’s gone on to finish the season very well is pleasing.
“There are celebrations tonight and out with a bang.”
It was nice way to end a season that did not go to plan following his role in England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals.
Cahill often found himself on the outside looking in at Chelsea, making just eight appearances in all competitions under Sarri.
The defender, who had the chance to leave in January, will move this summer at the end of his contract and is confident of getting another crack at Premier League football next season.
“I want to go away on holiday for a few weeks and then I’ll come back and see what options there are for me,” Cahill said.
“I’m confident that potentially I might stay in the league but I want to wait and see, take the decision over the summer.
“I’ve got a lot of time to think about things and hopefully make the right decision. I can’t wait to get back playing next season. I’m looking forward to that.”
Cahill to keep a close eye on Chelsea fortunes
“To qualify for the Champions League is a great achievement and something that was a target for the lads,” he added.
“But to finish with a trophy is what they played for throughout the whole season.
“Looking forward, we have to see what happens with the (transfer) ban and see how that plays out, but we’re looking forward to the young players coming through. They’re very exciting.
“I’m sure the fans will embrace that and the lads who are still here. I see the squad being able to build again and move forward.”
Get the latest personalised Blues products on our new TEAMtalk Chelsea shop!