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Jul 9, 2013

Mark Schwarzer signs for Chelsea

Socceroo goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says his desire to play for Australia at next year's World Cup was the main driver in deciding to sign with English Premier League heavyweights Chelsea.

The club confirmed on Tuesday they'd signed the former Fulham and Middlesbrough gloveman on a one-year deal.

The 40-year-old, who left Fulham at the end of last season after five years at Craven Cottage, said with the Socceroos securing a spot in Brazil it was vital he continued playing at the highest level to retain his place in the squad.

Schwarzer will however have to fight for the No.1 goalkeeping spot with first-choice Petr Cech.

"I still have a lot of aspirations to play for my country," he told chelseafc.com.

"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."

Chelsea is the biggest club the veteran goalkeeper has joined and he said he'd knocked back interest from other clubs, including a new contract offer at Fulham, to play at Stamford Bridge.

"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," he said.

"It's a phenomenal club. 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."

Schwarzer, who is the first overseas player to make 500 English top-flight appearances, said the chance to play under new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was a huge drawcard.

"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," he said.

"It has an unbelievable manager and an unbelievable squad of players and it's very exciting."

The Sydney-born stopper moved to England in 1996, with Bradford City. He later joined Middlesbrough, for whom he made more than 400 appearances in 11 years, before switching to Fulham in 2008.

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