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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Chelsea sign veteran keeper Schwarzer

Chelsea have signed free agent Mark Schwarzer in a move that could see the veteran goalkeeper play in the Premier League past his 41st birthday.

Mark Schwarzer makes the short move across West London after leaving Fulham at the end of June
Mark Schwarzer makes the short move across West London after recently leaving Fulham.

Schwarzer left Fulham at the end of last season after five years at Craven Cottage and has signed a one-year deal at Stamford Bridge, ending Jose Mourinho's search for an experienced back-up to current Blues No. 1 Petr Cech.

The Australia international, who is his country's most capped player of all-time and has been playing in English football for 17 years, was delighted to make such an illustrious move in the twilight of his career.

"It's a phenomenal club," Schwarzer told Chelsea's official website. "It's one of the biggest and best clubs in the world, and it's an honour to sign for Chelsea. I didn't take much convincing to come here.

"There were other interests but once I knew Chelsea was interested it was very much the case that I wanted to try and make it happen. I'm very fortunate and delighted to be sitting here today.

"There were a lot of things that ticked all the boxes, but most of all Chelsea Football Club is an enormous club and I think a club that can re-establish itself as the best club in the country. It has an unbelievable manager and an unbelievable squad of players and it's very exciting."

 

Schwarzer first moved to England in 1996 to join Bradford before making 367 league appearances in 11 years with Middlesbrough. He won the League Cup with Boro in 2003 and appeared in the 2006 UEFA Cup final against Sevilla.

During his time at Fulham he became the first overseas player to make over 500 Premier League appearances and reached another European cup final as the Cottagers lost out to Atletico Madrid in 2010.

New Chelsea boss Mourinho had made public his search for a new goalkeeper to support Cech following the release of Ross Turnbull and Hilario, seeing a bid for England international John Ruddy rejected by Norwich before swooping for Schwarzer, who has designs on playing in a third World Cup next summer.

"I still have a lot of aspirations to play for my country," Schwarzer added. "I want to play another World Cup, we've just qualified for Brazil and I want to continue to play at the highest level for as long as possible.

"Obviously Petr is a fantastic goalkeeper and the number one goalkeeper at Chelsea but I am here to help push him along, he will hopefully push me along and help the younger keepers at the club as well. I'm very excited of the challenges ahead."

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