Robbie Keane announces international retirement - to say farewell at the Aviva

Robbie Keane has announced his international retirement and will say farewell to the Irish fans at the Aviva Stadium next Wednesday.

The 36-year-old striker has 145 senior international caps to his name since he made his debut in 1998, and currently plays in the MLS with LA Galaxy.

In a statement Keane said: ”It has been a wonderful journey for me to have played with the Irish national team for over eighteen years. I have enjoyed it all.

“It has also been a great honour, for both me and my family, to have been given the opportunity to captain my country for over ten years.

“As a young boy growing up in Dublin playing football on the street I could never have imagined the path my life would take - it has exceeded my wildest expectations.”

With 67 goals, Keane will step away as Ireland’s record caps holder and all-time goalscorer.

The Dubliner appeared in three major international tournaments and scored in 15 consecutive years to place him 15th on the list of all-time international goalscorers.

Twice named as the FAI Senior International Player of the Year (2010, 2013), Keane also picked up three FAI International Goal of the Year awards and he captained Ireland to glory in the Nations Cup in 2011.

Keane broke Niall Quinn's international goalscoring record for Ireland in 2004 with a brace against Faroe Islands. He went on to become the fourth senior player to earn 100 caps in the first international game at the redeveloped Aviva Stadium in 2010.

Martin O’Neill included him in his 28-man squad named earlier today for next week’s friendly against Oman, where Keane is looking forward to the chance to say farewell to his fans.

“I want to say a special thank you to the Irish fans who have always given me huge support and who rightly deserve all the plaudits they receive, “ he said. “They are rightly described as the best fans in the world and a credit to our country.

“During my 18 years playing, they have always given me strength through the highs and lows in my life, particularly at the time of the death of my father, Robbie Snr., who was one of my biggest supporters and it really helped me through that difficult time - I will never forget this.

“I am looking forward to playing my final international game in Dublin at the end of August and getting a chance to thank them.”

26 June 2016; Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland at the end of the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres in Lyon, France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
26 June 2016; Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland at the end of the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres in Lyon, France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

He also paid tribute to the support of his family.

“Finally, I want to thank my biggest fans – my wife Claudine and my two sons Robert & Hudson who are always there for me on the good and bad days, for all their love and support. They play every game and kick every ball alongside me.”

“I had always hoped this day would never come and I will miss putting on the Ireland jersey and walking out to a sea of green but I am looking forward to the game against Oman & putting on the jersey and singing the national anthem one last time in front of the home crowd at the Aviva.”

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill paid tribute to his captain by saying: "Robbie's appearances and goals for Ireland speak for themselves.

"He is undoubtedly one of Ireland's finest ever players and I do not see his international goal record being beaten for a very long time, if ever."

FAI CEO John Delaney hailed Keane's contribution to his country by saying: "Robbie has been one of the greatest Irish sports figures of all time and a truly great Irish man.

"There are few footballers in the world who have showed such enthusiasm to play for their country as Robbie Keane.”

Part of the Ireland Under 18 team that won the UEFA European Championships in 1998, Keane was elevated to the senior team at the age of 17 after making the breakthrough with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The free-scoring striker went on to play in four different countries for 10 different clubs, including Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham United, Aston Villa and LA Galaxy.

Keane helped Tottenham win the English League Cup in 2008 and scored 126 goals in the English Premier League to leave him 13th on the all-time top scorer list. He has also won three MLS Cups with LA Galaxy and was selected as MLS MVP in 2014.


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