Duff retires from international soccer


Soccer:Damien Duff has retired from the Republic of Ireland team. His decision was revealed at a press conference today as Giovanni Trapattoni announced his 23-man squad for Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana on September 7th.

The 33-year-old, Duff, who captained the national side when winning his 100th cap against Italy at Euro 2012, follows Shay Given into retirement from international football. The latter, Ireland’s most capped player of all-time with 125 appearances, announced his decision earlier this month. Robbie Keane, currently playing with LA Galaxy, is included.

The FAI confirmed Duff’s decision in a statement. It read: “Damien Duff has decided to retire from international football. The 33 year old has played for the Republic of Ireland since 1998, earning 100 senior caps, making him one of only five Irish players ever to do so.

“At underage level Damien Duff was a star player in Brian Kerr’s side that finished third in the 1997 World Youth Championships. He made his debut for the senior team in March 1998 against the Czech Republic alongside Robbie Keane who earned his first cap in the same match.

“He went on to become one of Ireland’s greatest players, working his magic on the wing for a succession of Irish managers and competing in two major championships.

“The player found it very difficult to make his decision. He had been discussing the matter with Giovanni Trapattoni for some time but is sure in his mind that he is choosing the right moment to bow out and make way for the next generation to come through.

Duff said of his decision: “It has always been a source of immense pride for me to represent my country. I found it very difficult to make this decision, not least for the respect in which I hold Giovanni Trapattoni.

“I have enjoyed so many good times in the green jersey and want to thank everyone involved, especially the fans for making the last 14 years so special. I want to wish Giovanni, Marco and everyone involved with the Irish team every success for the future and will be supporting them every step of the way.”

Commenting on the news, Trapattoni said: “Damien will be missed by us and by Irish fans everywhere. He was immensely skilful and a great example to the players who come after him. I give him my warmest best wishes for his future career.”

Paddy Mc Caul, President of the FAI said: “Damien produced some moments of unforgettable magic on the pitch that will remain with Irish fans forever. We thank him for his enormous dedication over the last 14 years.”

John Delaney, Chief Executive added: “I have no doubt that Damien Duff will go down in history as one of Ireland’s greatest ever players. He has been an extraordinary servant to his country and has given us all some wonderful memories as well as being a true gentleman. Thank you Damien and all the best for the future.”

Trapattoni said of the uoming match: "It is important to get off to a good start at the opening match of our 2014 campaign. Kazakhstan is a good side who have caused difficulties at home for a number of leading teams but we know our strengths and will be relying on them when we travel to Astana in September.

"We will be without Damien Duff who has been a truly great player for his country. I thank Damien for his immense contribution and hope his professionalism and dedication will be an inspiration to the wingers who are now emerging in his place.”

Republic of Ireland squad:Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall), Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Marc Wilson (Stoke), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Darren O’Dea (Toronto), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Paul McShane (Hull City), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), James McCarthy (Wigan), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Joey O’Brien (West Ham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Andy Keogh (Millwall), James McClean (Sunderland), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (WBA), S Cox (Notts Forrest), J Walters (Stoke).

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