THE Football Association of Ireland would like to pay tribute to former Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff, who has announced his retirement as a player.
Duff, 36, represented his country at senior level 100 times and will always be remembered as one of the most exciting footballers this country has produced.
The Dubliner was a star of the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and Korea, and he also played for Ireland at Euro 2012.
He emerged as a real talent with the Republic of Ireland youth international sides and shone at the 1997 World Youth Championships Finals in Malaysia where he starred as Brian Kerr’s side reached the semi-finals and claimed third place in a historic achievement for Irish football.
Duff also played at the UEFA U18 Championships in 1997 although injury denied him a place at the successful 1998 UEFA U18 Championships campaign in Cyprus while he also represented his country at the 1999 World Youth Championships Finals in Nigeria.
He made his Ireland debut in 1998 against the Czech Republic and went on to become one of just six Irish players to reach 100 caps before his retirement from the international scene in 2012.
His schoolboy career included spells with Leicester Celtic, Lourdes Celtic and St Kevin’s Boys. He went on to play professionally with Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Fulham, Melbourne City and Shamrock Rovers, where he ended his playing days back on home soil.
Damien Duff won two Premier League titles and a League Cup winners medal with Chelsea, he also won the League Cup with Blackburn and a UEFA Europa League runners-up medal with Fulham.
He recently completed his UEFA B licence with the Football Association of Ireland as he progresses into the coaching side of the game.
“Damien Duff will rightly be remembered as one of the greatest footballers ever to wear an Ireland jersey, and I’m sure all Irish fans will join me in wishing Damien the very best wishes in his retirement," said FAI CEO John Delaney.
“I remember him emerging as a young player and was delighted to see him go on to fulfil his tremendous potential, which ended with him captaining Ireland in his final international against Italy at Euro 2012.
“It was very pleasing that he chose to come home and see out his playing days in the SSE Airtricity League, and it was also great to see that he has opted to take his coaching qualifications with the FAI. If Damien’s coaching career comes even close to what he did as a player, well then there are even more exciting times ahead.”