Mark Schwarzer is confident he will make his mark at Chelsea next season and retain his place as Australia's first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the World Cup finals, having been convinced by José Mourinho to depart Fulham for Stamford Bridge.
The 40-year-old left Craven Cottage under freedom of contract when offered the chance to join a Champions League club, albeit effectively as Petr Cech's deputy, having been denied a move to Arsenal three years ago. Schwarzer would have slipped to second choice at Fulham following the signing of Maarten Stekelenburg from Roma but, with Chelsea's fixture list more onerous, Mourinho has convinced him there will be opportunities to impress.
"I had a conversation with the manager and he told me his intentions for the season," said Schwarzer, who boasts a record 108 caps for the Socceroos. "He told me it's an unbelievable club and this was a great opportunity to join such a fantastic club, so I decided to give it a go. I didn't think twice after speaking with him. I'd had some doubts, but once I'd spoken to the manager those doubts disappeared pretty quickly. It's going to be an adjustment, of course [to being a No2], but given the amount of games Chelsea play there are going to be opportunities to play games.
"That's also important for me. And I'm here to win things, too. There are four competitions and you want to win all four if you can. You know what, when I moved to Fulham [from Middlesbrough in 2008] I thought that was it, and then the Arsenal thing popped up. So, after that experience, I said: 'Never say never.' It's proven to be true. I still say never say never, it's not over until it's over, so we'll see. Bottom line is this is one of the best clubs in the world and one of the best managers in the world, so it was a pretty easy decision to make."
Schwarzer had been aware of Chelsea's interest for a while, even if the move for the Australian was only pursued once it became clear that Norwich would resist the London club's attempts to prise John Ruddy away from Carrow Road. At 40, the player is considered a stop-gap while the youth-team product, Jamal Blackman, continues his development and other players are monitored, but it is clear a player who has kept 148 Premier League clean sheets – only David James, with 169, boasts more – still represents a reliable option.
"I feel incredibly well," said Schwarzer, who made his debut in Sunday's 4-1 victory over a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur. "They say the older you get you try to hide your age. But I am not trying to hide my age. I am 40 years old but I feel incredibly well and I am holding my own, no problems whatsoever. I feel incredibly fit and I love playing football. As long as I am playing well enough at this level I will continue to play.
"What's the secret? My wife would probably tell you it's just the selfishness coming into play. You definitely need a selfishness. You need the dedication, you need the persistence, the sacrifices – there's no rocket science to it. I just look after myself better than I ever have in the last three or four years in particular. You're talking about diet, you're talking about training, you're talking about all sorts of areas of my life. I look after myself better than I ever have and that has helped with the longevity.
"The aim is to continue to get better. I don't want to stop getting better. If you stop getting better then it is a downward, slippery slope. I would like to think that to be playing at the tender young age of 40 must prove I'm right. There is a distinct difference in my style to that of Petr Cech. Hopefully I can learn from him and maybe he might learn from me too. I think we can complement each other very well."