Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says that he has not given up hope of a move in January's English Premier League transfer window to pursue his ambition to play UEFA Champions League football.
The Australian was linked with a £4 million pound move to Arsenal in the summer but Fulham manager Mark Hughes refused to let him go. Schwarzer, 37, said he can see time running out and admitted the recent disappointment of the failed move was among the toughest times of his career.
"It was probably one of my hardest periods ever," Schwarzer told reporters after arriving in Sydney for next weekend's friendly international against FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finalists Paraguay. "This is the only time in my career I have ever tried to force an issue," he said.
"I don't have time on my side. If you were a 30-year-old you would walk away and say 'fair enough, I understand'. But I'm almost 38 and I want to fulfil an ambition. The sheer opportunity that was there..."
Schwarzer said while he had been happy at Craven Cottage, any footballer would be "crazy" to turn down the chance to play with the elite at Champions League level. "That was very flattering, but sometimes you've just got to grin and bear it and just get on with normal life again as much as possible," he said.
"You just have to get your head down and work as hard as possible. It can affect your day-to-day life, and ultimately I am judged on how I perform week in, week out. If that performance drops, then no club is going to be interested in me. The bottom line is I've got to play well wherever I am."
Schwarzer said a move was still a possibility in the next transfer window. "A lot can happen between now and January. What will be will be," he said. "If there's an opportunity in January, then we'll explore it."