Robbie Keane: The Biggest Name So Far In ISL 4

Sunday, 13 August 2017|Himangshu Das

The honeymoon period of retired footballers in the Indian Super League seems to have gone into history. Clubs seem to have finally realised that they need players who can make a difference on the field. His name and charismatic of the field presence no longer holds importance for ISL teams.

Del Piero, Roberto Carlos, Luis Garcia, Robert Pires, David James have all gone. The present crop of foreigners recruited this season matches none of them in their stature but only Robbie Keane of ATK.

Being the most prolific signing of the Indian Super League so far this season, we delve into his past to bring to you few things, you need to know about the star player.

The former Irish professional footballer will be playing under the supervision of newly appointed ATK coach Teddy Sheringham who is a former Manchester United player. ATK fans will be in a state of euphoria for the upcoming season.

Born on 8th July’1980, Keane started his senior playing career with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at the age of 17, scoring a brace in his debut match against Norwich City. The following season he was the club’s leading goalscorer. His terrific goal scoring abilities attracted much interest from various larger clubs. He was given the moniker ‘Baby Irish’ in his early playing days. Keane was finally sold to Premier League club Coventry City for around $8 million, a record back then for a teenager.

Since his childhood, Robbie Keane has been an admirer of Liverpool FC, and his dream came true in 2008 when he was finally signed by the Merseyside club to play at Anfield. Liverpool’s then manager Rafael Benitez loved the enthusiasm and skill of the youngster and thought he would be of great assistance to star striker Fernando Torres.

Keane made his debut for the Republic of Ireland in 1998 as a 17-year old and has been a constant performer for the team, playing 146 matches for his country before hanging up his boots in 2016. He became the country’s leading goalscorer during a match against the Faroe Islands on 13th October 2004.

He helped the Republic of Ireland win the ‘UEFA European Under-18 Championship’ title in 1998. They defeated Germany, but Keane missed his target on the all-important penalty shoot-out. Not to forget, Keane scored important goals against heavyweights Germany and Spain in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, helping his country in reaching the Round of 16.

He is second in the list of ‘Top scorers in all UEFA European Championship games’ (qualifying, play-offs and final tournament). He finally announced his retirement from international football on 24th August 2016, leaving the crowd in dismay as he left the pitch after being substituted during his final match against Oman. He is well-known for his cartwheel goal celebrations.

He has also played for various other renowned clubs apart from Liverpool FC during his career. He spent a season each in FC Internazionale Milano, Leeds United, West Ham United FC, and Aston Villa. While he was at White Hart Lane playing for Tottenham Hotspur FC for the most part of his career, appearing in nearly 200 matches, following which he also won three MLS cups with LA Galaxy in a span of five years and scoring over 100 goals.

Robbie is one such player whose game is not about working combinations with his teammates. He’s more of a reflex player whose great gift is his ability in one-on-one situations. He excels in broken play, where his quick thinking and sharp technique enable him to exploit opponents’ mistakes.

But the question is, will Robbie Keane be a great asset to the defending Champions Atletico de Kolkata for the upcoming season or will he be just another marque like his predecessors? Time will tell...