Gary Cahill concedes his Chelsea career may be over after failing to win favour with new boss Maurizio Sarri.
The 32-year-old is considering leaving the club during the January transfer window to fulfill his desire for regular football.
Cahill is yet to make a Premier League matchday squad under Sarri and watched from the bench as Chelsea edged PAOK 1-0 in their Europa League opener on Thursday.
Having often worn the armband since arriving in 2012, the defender has found it tough to adapt to a reduced role with the league leaders.
"I don't want to jump the gun but as things stand at this time, probably, yes [I might have to leave in January]," Cahill told Mirror Online.
"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. Sometimes you have to make those decisions to keep going and progressing.
"First of all the team's doing well which is the most important thing. Having been a big part of things for six years, seven years and played a huge part, not just a squad player, I'm definitely finding it difficult this year to deal with that situation."
Sarri says he doesn't know if he will continue to rest players in the Europa League. He notes in Italy he would be able to choose to play on Monday after a game in Greece on Thursday, something which doesn't happen in England. #PAOKvCFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 20, 2018
Cahil, whose contract expires at the end of the season, cited his late return from World Cup duty with England as a possible reason for his lack of minutes.
The former Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers man insists he is not bitter about going unused, and has not approached Sarri to discuss the situation.
"There are no arguments from my point of view, hence why I've not seen him," he said.
"When you're winning games you have to sit tight and suck it up and deal with it. For me to do this all season is going to be very difficult.
"Everything gradually comes to an end or there's a new challenge around the corner."
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