Football: Former Chelsea star Damien Duff retires

Former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff announced his retirement on Dec 21, 2015.
Former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff announced his retirement on Dec 21, 2015.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON (AFP) - Former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff announced his retirement on Monday (Dec 21).

Duff came through the youth ranks at Blackburn before moving onto Chelsea, Newcastle and then Fulham.

The 36-year-old won two Premier League titles and the League Cup with Chelsea, lifted the League Cup with Blackburn and helped Fulham reach the 2010 Europa League final.

He also won 100 caps for Ireland, representing them at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Duff returned home to Ireland to join Shamrock Rovers in July after a spell with Australian outfit Melbourne City, but has now called time on his 20-year career.

"After much deliberation, I have today decided to bring my professional football career to an end," he said in a statement released by Shamrock.

"My heart wants me to continue playing but my body has finally won the battle and told me to stop.

"I've lived every young boy's dream and I know I am a very lucky man.

"I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the journey from schoolboy football in Dublin and moving to England as a teenager right up to today.

"I am extremely proud to have won 100 caps for my country - it was always my greatest pleasure to represent Ireland and I have many magical memories from my international career."