Tim Cahill: Petke loved Red Bulls “more than anyone else ever will”

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Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl caught up with new Shanghai Greenland Shenhua attacker Tim Cahill, and the Aussie star has a lot to say about his departure from New York Red Bulls and the state of the club.

NYRB sporting director Ali Curtis has faced backlash since his firing of beloved head coach Mike Petke and the subsequent retooling of the roster.

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And Cahill respects the rebuilding process, but didn’t want to be a part of it. Sure, Sacha Kljestan is coming, but Cahill shares some concerns with, well, us.

From Sports Illustrated:

“But I feel when you start all over again, at 35 years old I don’t know whether I’m ready to do that. 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. So it definitely is a new transition for the New York Red Bulls, and you can see there’s a method to what he’s doing there, and I think it’s going to take time. But I wish them all the very best.”

One thing Cahill doesn’t get? Firing Petke.

“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.”

It’s a really good piece from Wahl, also delving into why he chose China as his next stop, whether he considers his time in New York a success, and lofty thoughts about the Socceroos’ recent Asian Cup triumph.

And I want to stress one more time… trading Alexander was a huge sacrifice, one that will show for a while in New York (and probably Montreal).