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'I've got one more adventure left in me' - Keane puts retirement talk on hold for final move

Ireland’s all-time record goalscorer isn’t planning to hang up the boots just yet.

Robbie Keane at Dublin Airport today.
Robbie Keane at Dublin Airport today.
Image: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

ROBBIE KEANE MAY be nearing the 20th anniversary of his professional debut, but he’s not quite ready to call it a day.

As a baby-faced 17-year-old, the Wolves striker burst onto the scene in August 1997 — scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Norwich City.

Dubliner Keane would go on to become Ireland’s greatest-ever goalscorer and lined out for no less than 10 clubs across England, Scotland, Italy and the US.

Last August, he announced his international retirement and was handed the chance to say farewell to fans with one final appearance in a friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium.

A trophy-laden five-year spell at LA Galaxy also came to an end in November, and Keane has been without a club since.

He will be 37 in July, but plans to hang up the boots altogether have been put on hold for one last hurrah.

“It will definitely be abroad,” said Keane, speaking out at Dublin Airport today. “I’ve got one more adventure left in me. If it’s a year or a couple more years, then I’ll look to get settled back home in Ireland.”

Keane, who is currently living in Dublin with his wife Claudine and sons Robert Jr and Hudson, has been linked with moves to Preston North End, Shamrock Rovers, Dubai-based Al-Ahli and the Chinese Super League among others in recent months.

There have been offers, but while the time hasn’t yet been right, he believes a deal will be done in the summer.

“A lot of leagues were about to finish so I didn’t want to go somewhere for seven, eight, or 10 games,” he adds.

After being out and not playing for a couple of months, it would have taken me at least four to six games to get 100% fit.

“So there was no point in that to be honest. If you look at it now, most leagues are nearly over so the sensible route for me is to sit down this month and look at the options before making a decision.”

Robbie Keane with his wife Claudine and sons Robbie and Hudson Keane, with wife Claudine and sons Robert Jr and Hudson, as he's inducted into the FAI Hall of Fame in March. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Keane has been keeping himself fit at Shamrock Rovers, and although he has said “never say never”, he won’t be lining out in his hometown of Tallaght anytime soon.

“I know a lot of the people there in [coach] Damien Duff, [sporting director] Stephen McPhail, a lot of the backroom staff were involved with the Irish team also so I’m grateful to use the facilities and help the lads.”

“It can work both ways if I can throw a little bit of knowledge on to some of the younger players, and the coaching staff are great so I’m enjoying it, which is the most important thing.

I’ve been training every day so it’s not like I’m not fit. It’s like I’m at a club so that’s certainly not the problem.

“20 years is a long time playing football and I’m fortunate enough to have played with some great teams, great clubs and fantastic players so I don’t want to jump into something just for the sake of it.

“I’m lucky enough that I’ve got an opportunity to sit back and have a look at the whole situation and pick the right one for me and the family.”

Aer Lingus ambassador Robbie Keane was at Dublin Airport today to launch Aer Lingus’ big North American sale, offering travel enthusiasts €100 off direct, return flights to all US cities and Toronto. Book your trip stateside by midnight 8 May at aerlingus.com to avail of this special offer

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