One of the great Tottenham Hotspur strikers of the past few decades is calling it quits today. Ireland international Robbie Keane announced in a statement that he is hanging up his boots and retiring from football at the age of 38 after a 21 year professional career.
Keane is Ireland’s all-time leading goal scorer, netting 68 times in 146 total caps. His professional career started in 1997 with Wolverhampton and along the way included stops at Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham (twice), Liverpool, and LA Galaxy. He ended his career as a player-manager for Indian Super League side ATK.
Robbie said the following in a statement, according to the BBC:
“Today, after 23 wonderful years, I am formally announcing my retirement as a professional footballer. From Crumlin United around the world to the likes of Milan, London and Los Angeles, I could never have imagined the path my football life would take.
”It has exceeded all the hopes I had as a football-mad boy growing up in Dublin.”
Keane’s longest spell with any one club was at Tottenham, where he made 306 appearances in all competitions, scoring 122 goals, making him Spurs’ 11th all time top goal scorer. Signed by Glenn Hoddle in 2002 and beloved by Spurs fans, Keane eventually formed a potent strike partnership with Dimitar Berbatov — he and Berba both scored 23 goals each in the 2007-08 season — and led Tottenham to the 2008 League Cup trophy at Wembley Stadium.
Spurs cashed in on Keane the following season, selling him to “boyhood club” Liverpool for £19m in the summer of 2008, a contentious transfer after which Spurs accused Liverpool of “tapping up” Keane. At Liverpool he never equaled the heights he hit in north London and mostly languished on the bench. Spurs bought him back in January of that same season for £12m, £7m less than what they received from Liverpool for him that previous summer, but he never regained his previous form.
In subsequent years, Keane was loaned to Celtic and West Ham before completing a permanent transfer to MLS side LA Galaxy in 2011.
Keane said his time at Tottenham was special.
“I have always wanted to test myself and strive to be the best that I could be, so I embraced new challenges be it at Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United and then possibly the most successful period of my club football career with Tottenham Hotspur.
”I had the great privilege to represent and captain Tottenham over 238 games. I had many wonderful times there and I will look back on my days at White Hart Lane with great fondness. The club will always hold a special place in my heart.”
With his playing days past him, Keane now enters a new phase in his football career — coaching. He joins new Ireland manager Mick McCarthy as a member of the Ireland coaching staff.
What are your favorite memories of Keano’s time wearing a Tottenham shirt? Share your memories in the comments.