Legendary players receive legendary tributes.
New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry has a statue greeting Arsenal fans at the Emirates Stadium. New York Cosmos player Marcos Senna has a gate named after him, welcoming fans to Villarreal’s home.
Tim Cahill is bigger than just a club hero. He transcends soccer as one of Australia’s most recognized sporting heroes.
His tribute is a bit greater than most.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced Monday the Cahill Expressway in Sydney would be renamed the ‘Tim Cahill Expressway’ for 36 hours through the conclusion of Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Iraq at ANZ Stadium. A victory against Iraq will book Australia’s ticket into Brazil 2014.
“Tim Cahill is one of Sydney’s favourite sons and a great ambassador for our city wherever he plays around the world,” O’Farrell told the gathered media. “This is a fitting gesture ahead of one of the biggest games in Australian football history.”
“This is one of the best moments of my life, other than having my children,” Cahill told reporters. “I really appreciate it.”
A win against Iraq is not the only worthwhile and history making event that can happen on Tuesday. Aside from his many accomplishments on the international level, including scoring the first Australian goal in World Cup history, Cahill is one goal away from tying the Australian record for most goals in international competition. Cahill has 28 to Damian Mori’s 29.
“I am extremely grateful and humbled by this wonderful gesture by The Premier and the NSW Government in renaming the Cahill Expressway in my name and in honour of the Socceroos,” Cahill said. “Tomorrow night is a huge night for the Socceroos, and for me personally, as we push to qualify for Brazil 2014 and without the support of the NSW people, and all Australians, we would not be in this position.
“Most importantly, I’d like to thank our fans, who have given us incredible support through our qualifying campaign, particularly over the past three weeks and we hope we can repay you for your faith and support in the team by getting us to Brazil next year.”
A win – and perhaps a goal – could make the honor more permanent.
“We’ll see depending on the results tomorrow whether or not it becomes a permanent change in the city,’ O’Farrell said.