CAHILL KEEN TO LEARN FROM VETERANS
Gary Cahill has urged Chelsea to keep hold of their old masters - because he has not finished studying under them yet.
The last four months have seen Cahill subjected to a crash course in what it means to play for the Blues, whom he helped lead to Champions League glory on Saturday night.
Speculation has been rife all season about a summer clearout of the club's so-called 'old guard' and reports on Monday suggested Munich hero Didier Drogba had already agreed a deal to join Shanghai Shenhua.
Cahill insisted the performance of Drogba and fellow thirty-somethings Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole in Saturday's epic victory over Bayern Munich proved they still had plenty to offer - especially to him.
"I don't see it being the end," the England defender said.
"Frank Lampard was fantastic. Ashley Cole was amazing and he's probably been the best left-back in the world for many years.
"Didier, again, turned up, the big man for the big occasion.
"You just learn from these sorts of boys, especially myself.
"Hopefully, I can learn fast."
Cahill admitted he felt added pressure on Saturday in the absence of another Chelsea veteran, suspended captain John Terry.
"I felt pressure because, obviously, the skipper wasn't there," said the 26-year-old, who revealed he was not even fully fit after almost a month out with a hamstring injury.
"Because of the size of the game and what it meant to the club - obviously playing the Champions League next season - however much you want to try to play it down in your head and relax, you knew it was a massive, massive game."
He added: "You only get the experience by playing in the games and, now, these games, the Barcelona games, and even coming on in the Benfica game in the second half was a great experience for myself and will only improve me as a player."
Chelsea were planning 11th-hour talks with Drogba on Sunday in an attempt to reach an agreement on extending his contract.
The club refused to bow to the 34-year-old's demands for a new two-year deal earlier this season.
Reports on Monday claimed that even if a compromise was to be reached, the Blues may have to pay Shanghai compensation after he agreed to join the Chinese side on a wage said to be £250,000 a week.
Cahill said: "If you ask every player at the football club, you'd hope that he stays.
"But he's obviously got his own decision to make.
"It was just fitting that he took the penalty that won us the cup, he got us back in the game late doors.
"He just seems to turn up in these big games and that's the kind of player he is."
Chelsea were also set to discuss whether to appoint caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo on a permanent basis after he masterminded the greatest climax to a season in their history.
The Italian is already being heavily linked with the likes of Aston Villa - his family home is in the midlands - as well as former club Lazio and even Liverpool.
Di Matteo had been scheduled to play in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am golf tournament at Wentworth on Wednesday before flying to Barbados at the end of the week for the British Airways Football Legends Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.
He was then expected to take the family holiday he has craved ever since being handed the reins at Chelsea three months ago.
Di Matteo may want to know his fate before then, while the Blues definitely want their next manager in place for the start of their pre-season tour of America on July 18.
There is talk of Di Matteo being offered a one-year deal while owner Roman Abramovich waits for Pep Guardiola to complete his planned sabbatical.
Whether Di Matteo would be prepared to continue under such conditions - or even with the spectre of Guardiola looming over him were he to be offered a longer contract - remains to be seen.
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