A tweet yesterday from the FAI says it all: “Goalscorer. Game Winner. Captain. Leader. Thank you, Robbie Keane.”
It is hard to imagine that one of modern football’s most prolific goalscorers and team leaders has bid a final farewell to the game he loved, and played, so well.
Keane was only 15 when he signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1996, and set the tone for a long and distinguished playing career when he scored twice on his debut against Norwich in 1997.
By any standards, his was an extraordinary career.
He captained the Republic of Ireland for a decade and scored 325 goals in 737 appearances for 10 clubs over 23 years.
Goalscorer, Game Winner, Captain, Leader.November 28, 2018
Thankfully, we have not heard the last of him.
The Republic’s new manager, Mick McCarthy, appointed Keane as his assistant last week alongside Terry Connor following the recent departure of Martin O’Neill.
If he proves to be half as inspiring a coach as he was a player, there will be many on the national team keen to follow in his footsteps.