‘It Was An Honour’


President Higgins and Robbie Keane during a visit to Aras by the LA Galaxy Football Team in 2015

This morning.

Robbie Keane writes:

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.

Leaving home at 15 years of age to pursue my professional career in England seems a lifetime ago now. I was a street footballer full of hope armed with huge ambitions and a determination to succeed. All I needed was that one chance.

I would like to pay a special thanks to Wolverhampton Wanderers for believing in me and giving me that chance when I made my professional debut in 1997, at the age of 17, against Norwich City. I will never forget that day, and was fortunate enough to score both goals in a 2-0 win. That feeling of euphoria drove me to the heights I reached during my career.

From Wolves, my professional career followed a path that took me far and wide, giving my family and I the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people and experience several different countries and cultures.

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.

There were shorter times spent at Glasgow Celtic and Liverpool, two truly iconic global institutions, and then West Ham United, before Los Angeles became our home away from home. We spent five hugely successful and rewarding years, both on and off the field, with LA Galaxy.

After a spell with Aston Villa, my playing career concluded with an exciting few months with ATK, a club which also gave me my first experience of management.

Playing and captaining my country has been the highlight of my career. I enjoyed every moment of the most incredible journey with the Ireland team over an 18-year period and as I have said many times before, words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish.

  I hope I have made the fans proud wearing the green jersey and armband.

It was always an honour to play for my country. Representing my country in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and two UEFA European Championships Finals are particular memories I will cherish forever.

I would also like to acknowledge the fans. It was always important for me to have a good connection with the fans of the teams I have played with – and their full support was vital to me, on both good and bad days, and was always greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank the teammates I have played with and the managers and staff I have worked with.  I was honoured to work and learn from you all – you were invaluable to my development as a player.

I would also like to thank my agent and advisers Struan Marshall, Ciarán Medlar and Damien O’Donohoe for all your support to me and my family.

Thanks to my parents Anne and my late father Robbie Snr, my brother Graham and sisters Natasha and Amy for everything they have given me and who have always helped me throughout with their absolute support and advice. You can never know how much your love and support has meant.

Finally, I want to thank my wife Claudine and my two sons Robert and Hudson – who are always there for me – for all their love, support and encouragement.

I am so incredibly grateful for all you have done for me since you came into my life, for the many sacrifices you have made so that I could pursue my career.

Your love and inspiration has motivated me every day across each new adventure we have embraced around the world, and I have no doubt there will be many more to come.

I take great pride in having scored 325 goals in 737 club appearances and 68 goals in 146 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland.

But for me, it was about making my family proud and the friendships that this wonderful game has given me. It is difficult to summarise a 23-year career but I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to do something I love every day.

With the closing of one chapter comes an exciting new adventure. I am incredibly proud, honoured and excited to now be working alongside Mick McCarthy, Terry Connor and the Irish international team over the next number of years.

This is a role I have massive passion, energy and enthusiasm for and I hope to use my experiences to contribute towards a bright future in Irish football.

To all those who believed in me, supported me and picked me up when I needed a hand, you can never know how much that has all meant. It was an honour to represent you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Thanks Kelli O’Keefe


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32 thoughts on “‘It Was An Honour’

  1. Ian-O

    Good man Robbie.

    My mother knew his father as a child, a right character but a lovely bloke from what she told me of him.

    She said anytime she saw Robbie on TV, she saw his father so strongly in him.

    Best of luck in the future!

  2. scottser

    mixed feelings about keano. a total mé féiner in front of goal and it rankles that the FAI would give him a coaching role without any experience.
    although, after his late goal against germany i could forgive him most things..

    1. Dhod

      A mé féiner that scored over 400 goals including 68 at international level. I would be happy if we could produce another mé féiner or two. Perhaps Robbie could teach Shane long how to mé féin in the box and perhaps score a bleedin goal

        1. rotide

          Completely agree.

          People seem to forget Pele and Muller played in the same era and we’re not including Gerd in the same conversation as Pele

  3. Eoin

    “Finally, I want to thank my wife Claudine and my two sons Robert and Hudson – who are always there for me – for all their love, support and encouragement.”

    So, we’re still not going to talk about the super-injunction then.

  4. Increasing Displacement

    Don’t care
    The sport bores me to tears
    The fanaticism of supporters concerns me
    As does the associated violence
    How cheating is core to the game is pathetic
    The money, for kicking a ball around, is something that highlights how messed up societies values are

    1. :-Joe

      I’d find it hard to disagree with much of what you said there, afterall it’s mostly a form of excercising primordial mamallian lizard-brained tribalism.

      Sport is to war as pornography is to sex et. al. but I prefer to see countries battle it out on a pitch over 90 or so mins than seeing robots dropping nukes on random civilians in far off lands.

      International footy is where the reverse metaphor of war as sport shines bright… although larger countries tend to have an unfair advantage by population than many others.

      Unfortunately club football is out of control and needs some fairness in the economics like the capped maximum spending regulation in US baseball, which I believe is still in effect if I’m not mistaken.

      Baseball is probably the best sport in the world because hardly anybody cares much either way by the end of it, mostly all leaving more content and relaxed than when they arrived.


  5. Worlds Biggest Ranter

    Never got the respect he deserved from the nation because of his accent. The culchies just couldn’t bend enough from their 1950’s Ireland prejudices. Half full Lansdowne Nua for his final appearance in a green jersey said it all.

    Great guy, great Dubliner and a great ambassador for Irish football everywhere. Made young kids all over this country and others too want to go out and be just like him. Delighted to see him part of the new make up. One things for sure, he wont be divisive like his namesake.

    1. Marklar

      I think the ticket prices and the fact it was Oman was why the Aviva was empty. We got the cheapest tickets we could and they were just under €28.

      I’ll never forget the goal against Germany, it still gives me goosebumps. I also loved him spurring on the crowd against Cameroon in 02.

    2. Rob_G

      Never got the respect he deserved from the nation because of his accent.

      He is one of our most respected players of all time(?)

      (tbh I have a Dublin accent, and I still found his accent pretty funny)

    3. rotide

      “Never got the respect he deserved from the nation because of his accent.”

      Want some salt and vinegar on your shoulder there?

  6. rotide

    about 8 or 10 years ago when confidence in Robbie had dipped badly and some fans were calling for him to be benched, Murph from (then) Off The Ball gave the very simple opinion that he ‘kicks the ball into the net’ and no matter what else he does, he always manages to Kick the Ball Into the Net. That was his greatest gift to supporters of the national team. People gave him stick for scoring goals against certain opposition, but noone else managed to simply Kick the Ball Into The Net with the same regularity as him and his 68 goals puts him in the top 15 (IRC, could be higher) of international goal scorers. Higher certainly than any player our vaunted neighbours produced.

    His time in the Galaxy, like Beckham before him proved his profesionalism and was a great end to his career (India doesn’t really count).

    So long Robbie and thanks for Kicking the Ball Into The Net so often!

      1. Stan

        Would you look at Puskas there – 84 goals from 89 games, back when they didn’t have internationals every other week.

        1. rotide


          Poul Nielsen stands out with 52 from 38 games, although from previous wikihole sessions i discovered that nearly all of them game from Den Vs Swe games when sweden were absolutely dire. Still looks like an insane scoring rate though

  7. Ollie Cromwell

    Ireland are still looking for a goalscorer to replace him.
    Actually at the moment they’re still looking for a goal….

    1. :-Joe

      I wouldn’t get to cocky there kiddo, your belated enger’lund can’t even beat Ireland and are still looking for a half decent midfielder…. and a manger who knows how to handle one properly for once…

      Although, either way I’d wager there’s a good chance they can win the next Euro’s…

      Shame, you’d be a an even bigger transparent bore, whining even louder and stirring it up for attention if that happened…

      A big “IF”.. but more than likely they’ll get beaten and bloodied in the final on penalties again by a resurgent Netherlands or an ageing Belgium.
      – A bit like that character in the film of the same name in the british tory prep school system, pun intended.

      COYBIG 1 : 0 ENGER’LUND… is a solid bet any year, month, week or day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      KEEAANNNNNNOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      1. Ollie Cromwell

        You have to be in it to win it.
        And to be in it you have to qualify for it.
        And once qualified you have to progress through to the knock-out stages.
        In the Euros and the World Cup.
        Not a great record in either of these competitions when you think about it.
        At the moment even Gibraltar would fancy their chances against this p!ss-poor team of Irish donkeys.

  8. :-Joe

    Oh, those were the days when we were Keane to watch the team do the business over and over again…

    A living legend of Irish sport and never got enough of the respect that he deserved while he was playing , averaging at 1 Goal (0.47) scored every two games for his whole international career.

    Lionel Messi is only slightly ahead (0.53) whatever that means statistically…….

    One of the most hard working, reliable, professional, talented and consistent leader’s or goalscorer’s to ever play the game anywhere…

    Thanks for all the “near death by heart attack experiences turned to euphoria at the last moment” memories and the good times afterwards that were had by all….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsLzoWizARc – Classic Keano…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAyuiE41Kcc – Classic Keano on one of many debut’s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OQT1psCoAc – Still having flashbacks from the first video..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUj7ABgOXl0 – Keane on Keano..( We would have made the bloody 1/4 Finals or more with you… WHY?.. damn you !!!)

    What a goal celebration too…. 10/10…. haha….


  9. Stan

    “A boyhood fan of retirement” sez the Guardian fiver (which leads, inevitably on the near-death experience in Ballybrack)

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