Danny Drinkwater retires from football aged 33 six years after £35m Chelsea move

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    Former Chelsea and Leicester City footballer Danny Drinkwater has retired from football at the age of 33.

    Drinkwater is best-known for his spells with the Foxes and the Blues, helping the former to win the Premier League in 2016. He made 2018 appearances across six seasons at the King Power Stadium, lifting the Midlands side from the Championship to the top-flight title and the Champions League.

    He departed the club to join Chelsea in 2017, moving to Stamford Bridge in a £35million deal. The midfielder's career stalled in west London, with Drinkwater playing just 23 games across five seasons.

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    He made 22 of those appearances in his first year at the Blues, helping them to win the FA Cup. Drinkwater announced his retirement from professional football during an appearance on the High Performance Podcast.

    Drinkwater said: "I'd just like to announce my retirement from professional football. It's probably been a long time coming, especially with the last year, but I think it's time to officially announce it now.

    "I didn't think it would bother me but saying it then it's almost like scratching a nerve a bit. I think I've been ready for it, not stopping at my peak and it's simmered down a bit, that's helped the transition."

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    "I think I've been in limbo for too long, I've either been wanting to play but not getting the opportunities to play at a level where I felt valued. I just thought I'm restless here for no reason, I'm happy not playing football, but I'm happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport?

    "It's all I've known, it's been my life since I was six or seven, it was never going to be an easy thing. I think the way it's died down has definitely helped. If I was playing week in, week out and had to stop through injury or age I think it would be trickier.

    "I've had quite a few offers from Championship clubs, but I never felt the burn, it did nothing for me."

    Drinkwater started his career at Manchester United but failed to break into the first-team at Old Trafford. He enjoyed several loan spells away from the 13-time Premier League champions before finding a home at Leicester.

    After leaving the Foxes and failing to establish himself at Chelsea, Drinkwater embarked on another series of loans at Burnley, Aston Villa, Kasimpasa and Reading as his contract ran down at Stamford Bridge. He failed to find a new club after leaving the Blues in 2022 and has now retired.

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