CHELSEA, Cahill: "Mad Season"
It's been a mixed season at Stamford Bridge, with the achievement of winning the FA Cup slightly soured by our inability to finish in the top four, but no player more than Gary Cahill will have experienced such a varied series of emotions ahead of the Champions league Final on Saturday against Bayern Munich in Germany.
Prior to joining the Blues in January, Cahill, who has just returned to full training and expects to be fit for the game, was playing for a Bolton Wanderers side locked in a relegation scrap which they were ultimately unable to escape from, the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the challenge now facing the 26-year-old, and he admits it's been an eventful campaign.
'It's been a mad, fantastic season. Obviously I've made the move here and it's worked out really well,' he said. 'I'm looking to build a career at Chelsea. To win the FA Cup and now going into this massive game within my first six months is crazy. I'm hoping to be selected for the summer and if I am it will have been a fantastic second half of the season.'
Prior to picking up the injury which saw Cahill miss the FA Cup Final, as well as a string of crucial league matches, his form had been excellent.
The Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona at home saw him turn in arguably his best display in a blue shirt when our backs were against the wall, leading to widespread praise from both team-mates and supporters alike.
Moving clubs mid-season is notoriously a difficult transition to make, and even more so when you are joining a team low on confidence. However, as he admitted, everything is now in place for the campaign to end in the most memorable fashion.
'Ideally, you want to come in and hit the ground running and have everybody saying how amazing you are, but that doesn't always work so you have to work at your game,' he said.
'Moving in January is different to moving in the summer. It took a few weeks but I always thought it would come good, I was pleased with my form before I got the injury and now I want to keep progressing.
'It's where players want to be, I thought I was ready for the move and to try to make the next step up, but you want to try and play international football, you don't get any higher than that, but to play in the Champions League at club level is what you want to do, and I'm fortunate that I've played in that and want to do for the next few seasons.'
At club level, it doesn't get any bigger than the Champions league Final. Ninety minutes away from being crowned European champions and making history is the type of stage every footballer aspires to be on, but only the fortunate few have the opportunity.
As a player who has given everything to reach this level, Cahill appreciates everything that comes his way, but while he is fully aware of just how significant a match this is, he is wary of getting too caught up in the inevitable fanfare that surrounds such fixtures.
'It's a huge game, everybody knows how massive it is, but for us we can't get caught up in all of that because then you start thinking about things that aren't to do with the game,' he admitted.
'Bayern Munich are a good team, so we need to address it as a big game, but we've been doing well in the competition in recent months.
'You come to big clubs to play in big competitions and be a part of it. We've got a great chance to win the biggest competition in club football, so we just need to work hard and make sure it goes to plan on the day.'
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