Tim Cahill admits he saw the writing on the wall at Melbourne City that he wasn't going to get the minutes he needs to fuel his push for a fourth World Cup appearance.
Cahill is a free agent after mutually terminating his contract with the A-League club earlier this week.
The 38-year-old said he slowly realised he wasn't in the first-team plans of new coach Warren Joyce, which was putting his hopes of joining the Socceroos at Russia 2018 in jeopardy.
He all but confirmed his next destination would be overseas, citing the "off period" between the end of the A-League season in May and the start of the World Cup in June as a major factor in his decision.
"This year my goal was to play 70 per cent of games," Cahill told Fox Sports News.
"When you know you can't reach that and there's only 18 games left, when you know that time's ticking, when you know that six weeks leading into a World Cup that there's an off period, when you know if you have all these things... at 38 years old, you've got to count your games.
"Every single time I got put on, I made a difference. Yeah, it breaks your heart sitting on the bench. But no player should demand to start.
"I didn't fit, and that's fine. You've got to accept it, and you move on."
Cahill made just one start for City this season and six substitute appearances, while also playing a crucial role in Australia's arduous qualification path to a fourth successive World Cup.
"As you get older you look at your career," he said.
"You say, 'OK, you're going to be 38 in December, you've possibly only got 30 to 50 games left in your career, internationally and domestically. How are you going to manage this (so) you can get to another World Cup?'
"You could see early on in the season, we played FFA Cup, there's no striker, and I travel with the national team and come back and I sit on the bench ... for me it's about moving on and moving quickly and dealing with it."
While insisting "if my career ended tomorrow that would be fine", Cahill said he had options to consider both in the A-League and overseas including the UK.
"There's a lot of interest and that's the best thing as a footballer, to have interest."