Robbie Keane’s playing career is officially over.
The former Republic of Ireland international has announced his retirement from professional football as he prepares to transition into coaching as one of Mick McCarthy’s assistant managers.
The 38-year-old striker scored 325 goals in his club career, and a record 68 goals for the Boys in Green at international level.
Keane represented 11 clubs, including Wolves, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Spurs, Liverpool, Celtic, and LA Galaxy during his 23 year career.
He scored 126 Premier League goals – and registered 37 assists – placing him 14th on the overall goalscoring list.
“Today, after 23 wonderful years, I am formally announcing my retirement as a professional footballer,” his statement read today.
“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.
1 – Robbie Keane has the most caps (146), has scored the most goals overall (68) and scored the most goals at World Cup finals tournaments (3) for the Republic of Ireland. Legendary. pic.twitter.com/vwymyi3aKI
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 28, 2018
“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.
“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.”
Keane described his spell with Spurs as the most successful of his career, and claimed the club will always hold a special place in his heart.
Congratulations on a fantastic playing career Robbie Keane! 👏
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 28, 2018
“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.”
Keane described representing and captaining Ireland as the highlight of his stellar career, and paid tribute to the Irish fans.
“Playing and captaining my country has been the highlight of my career. I enjoyed every moment of the most incredible journey.
“I would also like to acknowledge the fans. It was always important for me to have a good connection with the fans.
“I would like to thank the teammates I have played with and the managers and staff I have worked with.”
The Dubliner has also revealed his excitement at the prospect of working with Ireland at international level.
Keane approached McCarthy about getting involved in the new Ireland manager’s background team, and has described his move into coaching as “an exciting new adventure”.
“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.
“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.”