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 By Kevin Palmer

Damien Duff returns to Ireland to sign with Shamrock Rovers

Damien Duff has returned to Ireland after a spell in Australia with Melbourne City.

Former Chelsea winger Damien Duff has completed the final move of his career after he returned to his Irish homeland to sign for League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers.

Duff was a key player in the dynamic Chelsea side who won two Premier League titles during Jose Mourinho's first spell as the club's manager, and he went on to play for Newcastle and Fulham before having a spell in Australian soccer with Melbourne City.

The 36-year-old Dubliner has long expressed a desire to play out the final days of his career in Irish domestic soccer and now he will do that, after putting pen to paper on an 18-month contract with Rovers.

"I'm very excited to have signed for the club," Duff told the Shamrock Rovers website. "It's great to have it all finalised and now I'm just really looking forward to getting back on the pitch.

"I've always said that I wanted to come back and play in Ireland. Not only do I get the chance to do that, but I get to do it at the biggest club in the country. I am as excited about this move as I have been about any in my career.

"I left Ireland 20 years ago to go and make a career as a footballer and so now it's great to be back. I am definitely not just here to see out my time as a player; I intend to make a positive contribution to Shamrock Rovers and to the league."

Duff is likely to need some time to get up for full speed on the field as he has not played competitively since picking up a calf injury earlier this year that means he is unlikely to begin full training with his new team mates until later this month.

The deal is being hailed as one of the most high profile signings made by a League of Ireland side in recent years, with Duff's presence in the competition certain to give it a touch of star quality as he plays out his final days on the field.

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