Chelsea defender Gary Cahill admits that he will have to leave Stamford Bridge in January unless there is a dramatic change in circumstances between now and then.
Having failed to feature in any of Chelsea's Premier League matchday squads so far this season, Cahill must have hoped that the Europa League would provide an opportunity for some long-awaited first team football.
He travelled to Greece but didn't make it off the bench in the 1-0 win over PAOK Salonika on Thursday, proving that Maurizio Sarri does not see the 32-year-old as part of his plans.
"Whatever my future holds, in terms of the club, and the relationship I have with the club and the fans, it will have been a huge part of my footballing life. I've got maximum respect for everybody here.
"I realise that sometimes you have to make tough decisions and football doesn't wait for people."
Cahill has made over 280 appearances for Chelsea since joining from Bolton in 2012. He was a Champions League winner within five months of joining the club and has gone on to win two Premier League titles, the Europa League and the FA Cup.
"Everything gradually comes to an end or there's a new challenge around the corner. I've been here for six years and won six titles," said Cahill.
"I'm proud of my career, of what I've done here and what I've achieved in such a short space of time."
Cahill also won 61 caps for England before effectively retiring from international duty in August.