Robbie Keane announces retirement from football
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 28/11/18 3:37pm
Robbie Keane has announced his playing retirement from football after being named by Mick McCarthy as his assistant coach with the Republic of Ireland national side.
The 38-year-old began his career with Wolves in 1997 and played for 11 clubs, including Tottenham, Liverpool, Leeds and LA Galaxy.
The striker scored 325 goals in 737 club appearances and 68 times for Ireland, making him the country's record goalscorer.
"Today, after 23 wonderful years, I am formally announcing my retirement as a professional footballer," Keane said in a statement. "[My career] has exceeded all the hopes I had as a football-mad boy growing up in Dublin.
"Playing and captaining my country has been the highlight of my career. Words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish. I hope I have made the fans proud wearing the green jersey and armband.
"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."
Keane has made no secret of his desire to go into football management, and called time on his playing days to focus on his upcoming role as assistant coach to newly-appointed Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
McCarthy handed Keane his international debut back in 1998 against the Czech Republic, and the pair enjoyed a successful stint together as the Republic of Ireland reached the last 16 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
"With the closing of one chapter comes an exciting new adventure," Keane said. "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.
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Today, after 23 wonderful years, I am formally announcing my retirement as a professional footballer. Leaving home aged 15 to pursue my professional career in England seems a lifetime ago. I was a street footballer full of hope & armed with huge ambitions. All I needed was that one chance. I would like to pay special thanks to Wolverhampton Wanderers for believing in me & giving me that chance when I made my professional debut in 1997 against Norwich City. I will never forget that day, I was fortunate enough to score both goals in a 2-0 win. From Wolves I embraced new challenges at Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United & then possibly the most successful period of my club football career with Tottenham Hotspur, a club that will always hold a special place in my heart. I then enjoyed time at Celtic, Liverpool, West Ham United, & LA Galaxy. My playing career concluded with an exciting few months with ATK, a club which gave me my first experience of management. Playing & captaining my country has been the highlight of my career. I enjoyed every moment with Ireland over an 18-year period. Words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish. It was so important for me to have a good connection with the fans of the teams I played with. Your support was vital to me, thank you. Thank you to the teammates, managers & staff I have worked with; I was honoured to learn from you all. Thanks to my parents Anne & my late father Robbie Snr, my brother & sisters for their support. To my wife Claudine & my sons Robert and Hudson - thank you for your love, support & encouragement. I am so incredibly grateful for all you have done for me. I take great pride in having scored 325 goals in 737 club appearances & 68 goals in 146 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland. But for me, it was about making my family proud & the friendships that this wonderful game has given me. With the closing of one chapter comes an exciting new adventure. I am honoured & excited to be working alongside Mick McCarthy, Terry Connor and the Irish international team & I hope to use my experiences to contribute towards a bright future in Irish football. Thank you for the memories!
"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."
McCarthy revealed that it was Keane himself to come up with the idea of an appointment as his assistant.
"I copped that Robbie will bring his special talents to the squad," McCarthy said. "For all of those players he's a hero for what he did with our team. They will learn from Robbie.
"He's serious about his football. He's got his head screwed on in terms of wanting to be a coach, a manager in his own right. If we're talking about succession, and whatever happens to me in two years time, he needs to be part of that succession because he's got a lot to offer."
The Republic of Ireland will know their opponents for the Euro 2020 qualifiers phase on Sunday with the draw taking place in Dublin.