The Republic of Ireland’s all-time leading goal scorer Robbie Keane will bring down the curtain on a superb international career at the Aviva Stadium next Wednesday.
The 36-year-old, who has scored 67 goals in 145 appearances for his country, made the announcement last night via statement.
Only 14 players have scored more than Keane at international level to date, with his first goal in green coming against Malta way back in 1998.
It has been a wonderful journey for me to have played with the Irish national team for over eighteen years since I made my senior international debut back in 1998.
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 ten 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.
He was a member of the Ireland squad for the 2002 World Cup where his late equalising goal against Germany in the group stage has become part of the nation’s football folklore.
Keane also played at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 during his 18-year international career, and 2016 is so far the only year in which he hasn’t managed to find the net.
In his statement, Keane also thanked his team-mates over the years, the managers, the backroom staff, the FAI, and the Irish fans, and singled out Mick McCarthy for giving him his debut in 1997.
Keane became Ireland’s record goal scorer back in 2004, overtaking the previous record of 21 held by Niall Quinn, and he scored three hat-tricks – against San Marino (2006), the Faroe Islands (2013), and Gibraltar (2014)
With 21 goals, Keane is the top marksman ever for European Championship qualifying.
Tributes have rolled in for the outgoing captain following the announcement, including words from Irish President Michael D. Higgins and former club level team-mates David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.
Tickets for Robbie Keane’s final game for the Republic of Ireland are still available, click here for more information.