Robbie Keane to call time on international career after Oman game

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Robbie Keane celebrates after scoring against Gibraltar last year
Robbie Keane has scored 67 goals in 145 international appearances

Robbie Keane has announced that the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Oman in Dublin on 31 August will be his last international.

Earlier on Wednesday Keane was named in the Republic’s squad for the Oman game and the opening World Cup qualifier against Serbia on 5 September.

However, the ex-Spurs striker later released a statement confirming his impending international retirement.

Keane, 36, has scored a record 67 goals for the Republic in 145 appearances.

The LA Galaxy striker was a late substitute in the Republic’s Euro 2016 games against Sweden and Belgium but is no longer a regular starter for Martin O’Neill’s side.

Keane hails ‘wonderful’ Republic journey

“It has been a wonderful journey for me to have played with the Irish national team for over 18 years since I made my senior international debut back in 1998,” said Keane.

“I have enjoyed it all. It has also been a great honour, for both me and my family, to have been given the opportunity to captain my country for over 10 years.

“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.”

The Dubliner made his senior international debut against the Czech Republic in March 1998 four months before helping his country win the European Under-18 Championship in Cyprus.

“I would never have believed all those years ago that I would get the opportunity to play for my country 145 times and to score 67 goals,” added Keane in his statement.

“I have been on the most incredible journey with the Irish team and fans over the last 18 years and words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish.

“I look back at the 17-year-old kid making his international debut, taken under the wing of Mick McCarthy and the FAI, and think of the person I am today and realise how playing for Ireland has been such a huge influence in my life.”

Robbie Keane celebrates after his late equaliser against Germany at the 2002 World Cup
Robbie Keane says his 2002 World Cup goal against Germany stands out as his main career memory

Keane recalls World Cup goal against Germany

During McCarthy’s reign, Keane scored a memorable Republic equaliser against Germany in the 2002 World Cup finals, which the LA Galaxy striker recalled fondly on Wednesday.

“One (memory) in particular stands out – the 2002 World Cup and scoring the late goal in Ibaraki, Japan against Oliver Kahn.

“The atmosphere, the adrenaline and the buzz from the fans that night is something I will always remember.”

Keane became only the fourth Republic player to reach a 100 caps when he started against Argentina in 2010.

Commenting on Keane’s announcement, Republic manager Martin O’Neill described the striker as “undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest ever players”.

“I do not see his international goal record being beaten for a very long time, if ever,” added O’Neill.

“It will take us some time to get over his absence.”

Another Keane goal against Oman next week will move him level with German great Gerd Muller, currently the fourth best European marksman in international football history behind Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis and Miroslav Klose.

Source:bbc.com

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