Robbie Keane announces international retirement and will make final Republic of Ireland appearance next week
Robbie Keane will bid an emotional farewell to the Republic of Ireland next week after announcing his retirement from international football.
The 36-year-old striker will make his 146th and final senior appearance for his country in the friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Wednesday night and then call time on his 18-year career in a green shirt.
Keane, Ireland’s record international goalscorer with 67, said in a statement: “I had always hoped this day would never come and I will miss putting on the Ireland jersey and walking out to a sea of green.
“But I am looking forward to the game against Oman and putting on the jersey and singing the national anthem one last time in front of the home crowd at the Aviva.
“It will be an emotional night for me, but I will savour each and every last moment.
“While this is the end of my international career, I hope to continue to play for some years yet. I love my time playing with LA Galaxy and intend to focus my energies on continuing my club football for a few more seasons.”
Keane made his senior debut against the Czech Republic in March 1998 and scored his first goal against Malta later the same year.
He was named by manager Martin O’Neill in a 28-man squad on Wednesday, but will not be involved in the opening World Cup qualifier against Serbia on September 5.
He is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest ever players and I do not see his international goal record being beaten for a very long time
Keane, who played at the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, said: “As a young boy growing up in Dublin playing football on the street, I could never have imagined the path my life would take – it has exceeded my wildest expectations.
“I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to play for and captain my country – it was my ultimate goal all those years ago and it has been, by far, my greatest achievement.”
O’Neill described Keane as “one of Ireland’s finest ever players” and admitted it would be a major task to find a replacement.
He said: “Robbie’s appearances and goals for Ireland speak for themselves. He is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest ever players and I do not see his international goal record being beaten for a very long time, if ever.
“It will take us some time to get over his absence.”