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Damien Duff Opens Up On His Emotional Departure From Chelsea & Flirting With Liverpool

Damien Duff Opens Up On His Emotional Departure From Chelsea & Flirting With Liverpool
By Mikey Traynor

Damien Duff's time at Chelsea was not only the highlight of his playing career, but it was also a very exciting time for Irish football fans.

There hasn't been too many times in recent memory where an Irish player was an integral part of a Premier League winning side while also doing the business in the Champions League, so while Chelsea certainly weren't the most popular team after Roman's millions came in, it was great to see Duffer showing what he could do on the biggest stage.

There's no question that Duff's best football was played at Chelsea, when himself and Arjen Robben were ripping defences apart with frightening pace, so it was always going to be difficult to move on when the time came. Speaking to FourFourTwo in the April issue of the popular football magazine, Duff revealed that he cried upon departing the club.

I cried on the day that I left [Chelsea] – looking back, that probably should have told me I was making the wrong call, as I never cried when I left Blackburn, Newcastle or Fulham, or even when I retired. But it was my own decision.

And when he made the decision, there were a number of clubs lined up to offer him a new adventure.

He would eventually choose Newcastle, but not before turning down Tottenham Hotspur due to his newly found allegiance to Chelsea.

I remember getting a message from Martin Jol, but I was a Chelsea fan after winning titles there so it was something I never really looked at. I had friends at Newcastle – Scott Parker, Shay Given – and I wanted to give that a real go, but I had a disaster. I gave them everything but sometimes moves don't work out.

But perhaps the most interested club was Liverpool. Most Irish fans will remember the links that emerged after the 2002 World Cup, where it seemed a certainty that two of the breakout stars of the tournament were heading to Merseyside in Duff and El Hadji Diouf.

But only one of those deals materialised, the wrong one in hindsight, although it wasn't for the lack of trying. Duff revealed that there were three occasions when Liverpool came in for him, but for whatever reason a move could never be agreed.

I came close [to joining Liverpool] two or three times. The first was a year or two before I signed for Chelsea [in 2003]. I would have gone there, but Blackburn wanted a big fee so not too many clubs could afford to buy me back then! Then when I was leaving Chelsea, the same move nearly happened again.

That would have been interesting.

The move would have happened in 2006, and would have seen Duff playing alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in the Liverpool sides that came up just short in title races over the next few seasons.

Instead he went to Newcastle, where he's spoken openly before about how nothing went to plan, so maybe Steve Finnan should have put in more of an effort like Shay Given and Scott Parker did.

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[via FourFourTwo]

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