Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Ryan Byrne/INPHO Robbie Keane speaking to the media today.
# Last Hurrah
Keane: 'I've put many jerseys on, but the Irish one always seemed to fit me best'
Ireland captain Robbie Keane held a press conference in Dublin this afternoon ahead of his last appearance for the Boys in Green.

AS HE HEADS into his final few days as an international footballer, an emotional Robbie Keane has spoken about the special feeling he gets every time he dons the green shirt.

The Ireland captain, who holds the record for most caps as well as being the country’s top goalscorer, will call time on an incredible career with the Boys in Green when they take on Oman in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday evening.

“It’s been an emotional week for me,” Keane said today at the FAI’s National Training Centre. “It’s a bit surreal to be honest. I’ve dreaded this day for a long, long time but the moment has come where I think it is the right time for me. I have mixed emotions about it. It has been an absolutely wonderful journey and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“To the fans and everyone that has been supportive to me over the 18 years, it has been an incredible journey and it is something that I will never ever forget.”

36-year-old Keane, who plans to continue playing with LA Galaxy for several more years, has been widely-praised by ex-managers, former team-mates, the media and fans since making his announcement last Wednesday.

“The last week has been very positive from everybody in terms of the messages I’m getting from people that I played with — friends and family — and I haven’t really reflected on it,

“I’m not one of these people to reflect on things until it’s finished. Come Wednesday when that curtain finally closes, I’ll look back and say ‘you know what, you did okay Rob’.”

The Tallaght native has always felt overwhelming pride lining out for Ireland and went on to explain just how much it meant to him.

“I’ve read a lot of stuff about being confident and cocky and I think there is a fine line between both,” he added. “I was always a confident player but if I wasn’t a confident player and I didn’t have that brashness about me, I don’t think I would ever have scored 67 goals.

People misinterpreted cockiness and confidence. I was confident coming into the squad as I belonged here and that was from Day 1. Did I ever imagine that I would get 145 caps when I was growing up?

“When I was at Wolves, I remember people retiring at 32 years of age and I was thinking ‘if I get to that age then I’ll be delighted’. Here I am still playing at 36. It’s been an unbelievable career with the international team.

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“I played for many teams and put many jerseys on, but the Irish one always seemed to fit me best. For me, it was a comfort blanket to come back with the national team. It’s been my second home and I’ve had a lot of emotions during my career. You have all been there and grown up with me.

“When my father died, it was very tough but three days later I was on a plane going to play a game. When my son was born, two hours later I left the hospital in LA to come back and play for Ireland.

“I think that suggests to you that Ireland was always a special place and it will continue to be that for a long time.”

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