Robbie Keane's illustrious Ireland career is set to come to an end. The legendary striker, who holds most every Ireland record, has announced he will retire from the national team after 18 years following next week's friendly against Oman. Then he will simply be an LA Galaxy player, able to focus on staying fit and a star for his club.
Keane has 145 caps, a number he will push to 146 when he plays his final match in Dublin next week; an Ireland record. He has 67 goals for his country, not only tops in the history of Ireland, but more than triple the next best national team goalscorer.
After making his debut for Ireland in 1998, Keane immediately became a mainstay. He led Ireland to the 2002 World Cup, where he scored three goals. By 2004, he has become his country's leading all-time goalscorer and in 2006, he was named Ireland captain. He's worn the armband ever since.
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Keane is the leading goalscorer in the history of UEFA Euro qualifying and helped Ireland qualify for Euro 2012 and 2016.
For more than a decade, Keane has been the face of the Ireland team. Not only their best player, record holder and captain, but the true heart of the team. He was unquestionably committed to the national team, taking every cap he could. Many expected him to retire from the national team when he signed with the LA Galaxy five years ago, thinking that he wouldn't want to deal with the travel needed to go from Los Angeles to Europe every international break, but he didn't. He remained captain and showed up every chance he could.
Now Keane is finally ready to step aside. He is 36 years old and got to play in the Euros just this summer. It's a good time for him to say goodbye to Ireland, with injuries starting to mount as he ages. He'll get one last match for his country, in Dublin, and it will surely be an emotional night for a player who has given so much to the national team and the fans who have cheered him for 18 years.
By next week, Keane will no longer be an Ireland player. He'll be an international retiree. But still an Ireland legend, forever and ever.