Gary Cahill signed for Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers in January 2012 and embarked on a remarkable run of success.
A no-nonsense central defender who is fierce in the tackle, quick and brave with his blocks, and a fine reader of the game, Cahill was rewarded for his move south with two winners’ medals in his first six months in west London, including in his maiden Champions League venture.
He emerged as a first-choice centre-back at international level while also adding a Europa League winners' medal to his collection and he was a pivotal figure during 2013/14 as the Blues kept the best defensive record in the Premier League.
A Premier League title and League Cup win in 2014/15 meant Cahill had rapidly assembled the full set of club honours and he was the on-pitch skipper for the title win in 2016/17. He was named club captain, replacing the departed John Terry, in July 2017.
Gary Cahill captained Chelsea for the 50th time in the draw against Liverpool in November 2017
Born in Sheffield in December 1985, Cahill joined Aston Villa's Academy as a 15-year-old but joined Burnley on a half-season loan in late 2004, making his Football League debut in a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
He made 32 appearances in all competitions for the Clarets, winning both Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards at Turf Moor before returning to Villa's first-team setup in late 2005, making his bow in an 8-3 win against Wycombe in the League Cup, but it was not until April that he made a Premier League appearance in a 5-0 defeat at Arsenal.
The defender kept his place however and began the next season at the centre of defence under Martin O'Neill, but after just two appearances in 2007/08 he went out on loan again, signing for Sheffield United in the Championship, scoring twice in 16 games for the Bramall Lane club.
A £5 million move to Bolton followed in January 2008 and Cahill quickly settled at the Reebok Stadium, becoming a fixture in Gary Megson's side and helping them avoid relegation.
Form at club level had remained consistently high under the guidance of Owen Coyle, and he played 36 league games during 2010/11, but stated he would not be signing a new contract for the Lancashire club when his deal expired in 2012.
This led to interest from a number of top clubs but it was Stamford Bridge Cahill favoured as a destination.
Following his mid-season signing, Cahill waited a couple of weeks for his first Blues appearance as then manager Andre Villas-Boas gave him time to acclimatise in west London, but he did start a dramatic 3-3 home draw with Manchester United and, despite a comeback in that match from the visitors, showed early signs of a promising partnership with David Luiz.
From that point onwards, Cahill was regularly involved, as knocks to other central defenders afforded him opportunities, and he showed the goalscoring prowess previously on display at former club Bolton and with the England national team by netting twice during March.
Cahill enjoyed his most impressive game in a Chelsea shirt so far during a 1-0 Champions League semi-final first leg victory over Barcelona, but having picked up an injury in the return leg, he missed the last month of the domestic season, including an FA Cup Final win against Liverpool at Wembley.
Happily, he was passed fit just days ahead of the Champions League final and played the full 120 minutes against Bayern Munich, picking up a Champions League winners' medal and ending a memorable season in the best possible fashion.
Cahill was an unused substitute for our opening game of his first full Chelsea campaign before being restored to the starting line-up for the following game against Reading, when he scored our third goal in a 4-2 victory. Cahill also netted in a 4-1 UEFA Super Cup defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
Further goals followed in successive Capital One Cup victories, against Wolves and Manchester United, but it was his stunning volley at White Hart Lane in a 4-2 win that really helped cement his place in the hearts of Chelsea fans.
In December 2012 he was sent off in the FIFA Club World Cup final against Corinthians for reacting to a challenge by Emerson, but after serving his suspension he remained a constant in the side until picking up a knee injury in a win over West Ham United in March.
Following a month out the defender made his return in another 2-0 home success, this time against Swansea, and he went on to play a crucial role as the season drew to a close. He teed up Oscar for our opening goal in a 2-2 home draw with Spurs, and a timely and typical block late on in the Europa League final in Amsterdam was as impressive as it was important, preserving our 2-1 lead over Benfica on the way to lifting another continental trophy.
Cahill began his second full season at Chelsea in fine form under new manager Jose Mourinho, with the Portuguese more often than not opting to partner him alongside John Terry at the heart of our defence, including in home wins against title challengers Manchester City and Liverpool.
After a prolific 2012 in front of goal, which included eight strikes in Chelsea blue, it took until the first day of December in 2013 for the defender to open his account for the calendar year. It was worth the wait, though, as his stooping header against Southampton swung the game in our favour and set the tone for a fine end to the year.
By the beginning of 2014, Cahill and John Terry had developed a wonderful partnership, the tightest in the Premier League. Cahill started 19 straight league games in that position and also excelled in Europe, scoring in the second leg of a Champions League tie against Galatasaray.
He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time having been part of the league’s stingiest defence, which shipped just 27 goals, and in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England World Cup squad. Cahill was also one of the final four nominees for the Chelsea Player of the Year award, the supporters recognising his development and consistent performances during his best year yet at Stamford Bridge.
Cahill was a regular in a highly memorable Chelsea season, a solid, reliable presence alongside John Terry at the back as the Blues were crowned champions. He played 36 of the league games and opened the scoring in our 2-1 win at Anfield in November with a close-range strike. The defender then produced a string of accomplished displays during the second half of the campaign, and was rewarded for his impressive form by being named in the PFA Team of the Season for the second consecutive year. He was part of the defence that kept a clean sheet as Spurs were overcome in the Capital One Cup final.
The follow-up to the title-winning year was a testing one of far less achievement, although one in which Cahill's personal involvement increased as it went on.
Though his familiar partnership with John Terry was deployed at the start of the campaign, that was then often broken up as young Kurt Zouma was increasingly selected by Jose Mourinho.
Cahill was an infrequent starter in midwinter but there was a boost when a contract committing him to Chelsea until 2019 was announced in December 2015.
A season-ending injury for Zouma in early February put Cahill firmly back in the frame with Guus Hiddink now back in charge, and his goal began the famous comeback from 2-0 down against Spurs in May, which preserved our long unbeaten home run against our London rivals and handed Leicester the league title.
Cahill, who played his 200th Chelsea game versus Burnley near the start of the campaign, showed great fortitude to recover from a short, shaky spell for both him and the team in September 2016 to be one of the mainstays of Antonio Conte's new three-man defence. It did not concede a goal in six league games in October and November 2016. He scored in the 4-0 demolition of Manchester United as well as finding the net twice in the short League Cup campaign.
He was also captain of the side throughout what grew into a 13-game winning league run as the Blues went clear at the top of the table. There was drama and concern in a 2-0 home win against Hull when Cahill headed the second goal but he was also involved in an accidental clash of heads with the visitors' Ryan Mason who suffered a fractured skull. Thankfully, after several days in hospital, the midfielder was discharged.
Cahill displayed fantastic leadership qualities as the campaign drew to a close, producing consistently solid displays defensively as well as offering a goalscoring threat at the other end of the pitch. He scored a late winner at Stoke (below) and a brilliant, brave header, which made it 2-1 on the night, was the turning point in our 4-2 win over Southampton. In the following game he tapped home from close range as we overcame Everton at Goodison Park. Cahill, who lifted the Premier League trophy alongside John Terry, was rewarded for his fine form by being named in the PFA Team of the Season.
In July, 2017, while on pre-season tour in Asia, Cahill was named as the new club captain, replacing the departed John Terry.
Cahill's campaign echoed the highs and lows the team experienced, with an opening-day red card against Burnley affecting his start to it. He worked hard to get back in the side having been left out for a while after a difficult start to the new year, and produced his best performances of the season as it reached its conclusion.
He skippered the side to glory in the FA Cup final when he held a solid and strong defensive performance together from the heart of the back three. Although a winner of the same competition in 2012, this time he played in the final and the victory was made sweeter by the fact it was his first as club captain.
An England Under-21 international since early 2007, Cahill was added to the full England squad for a World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in June 2009, but had to wait until September 2010 for a debut, when he replaced the injured Michael Dawson to partner John Terry in a 4-0 win over Bulgaria.
In March 2011, Cahill made his first England start in a friendly against Ghana, and scored his first international goal away in Bulgaria in September.
After impressing during his first five months at Stamford Bridge, Cahill was selected as part of the 23-man squad for the European Championships. However, in the final warm-up game before departure, he collided with goalkeeper Joe Hart, fracturing his jaw in two places, and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament.
Having missed the tournament, he made his international return for the friendly win against Italy, before being named in Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September 2012.
He was then forced to miss World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro after injuring his knee in a league game against West Ham, but played a pivotal role as England qualified for the 2014 World Cup later in the year. Cahill produced a man-of-the-match display in the tightly-contested 0-0 draw with closest challengers Ukraine in Kiev, and truly cemented himself as a first-choice centre-back under Roy Hodgson.
Cahill played the opening two matches in Brazil alongside Phil Jagielka, and while both ended in defeat the Chelsea defender performed well
He was then one of only two players who retained their places in the side for the final group game, a goalless draw against Costa Rica.
He was the England vice-captain in a perfect qualification campaign for Euro 2016 and in the tournament captained the side in a group stage draw with Slovakia, but selected throughout, he was part of the team which lost ignominiously to Iceland at the last-16 stage.
Early in the qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup, Cahill headed in England's third in a 3-0 home win over Scotland.
After a strong end to the 2017/18 season at club level, Cahill was named in the 2018 World Cup squad and although he was mainly one of the subs, he did start England's final group game against Belgium where he produced a typically assured display.
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