Robert David "Robbie" Keane (Irish: Robeard Ó Catháin;born 8 July 1980 in Tallaght, Dublin) is an Irish footballer, who currently plays as a striker for Tottenham Hotspur and the Republic of Ireland.
Keane started his football career with South Dublin schoolboy side, Crumlin United where his talent was recognised at an early age. As an U-10 schoolboy he was paid 50p a goal, and was soon being watched by scouts from a number of English professional clubs, including Premier League side Liverpool.
However, he turned down Liverpool to join Wolves, reasoning that he had a greater chance of breaking into the first team at the First Division side. He made his first professional appearance in 1997, and played at Molineux for two seasons, making 88 appearances and scoring 29 goals, before a £6m transfer to Coventry City in 1999, a then British record for a teenager.
After a successful season at Coventry, where he scored 12 goals in 34 games, he had become one of the hottest properties in English football, and was being courted by many of the biggest clubs in football.
In the end, he was signed by Marcello Lippi of Internazionale for £13m, where he teamed up with the likes of Ronaldo and Christian Vieri.
However his dream move to Italy soured when Lippi was sacked soon after Keane arrived, and Lippi's successor, Marco Tardelli deemed Keane surplus to requirements. Keane's ambition refused to let him stagnate in Italy, and, in December 2000, he was loaned out to Leeds United.
His Leeds career got off to a cracking start, scoring 9 goals in 14 starts before the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, made his loan deal permanent in May 2001 at a cost of £12m. The following season was not so bright, and he found himself dropping down the pecking order. His form suffered and he only managed 10 goals in 36 appearances. Meanwhile, Leeds's financial troubles were forcing the club to sell many of its players, and Keane joined the exodus when he was sold to Tottenham Hotspur just before the 2002-03 transfer deadline for a fee of £7m.
Upon signing for Tottenham, the Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle said Keane was ideally suited to Tottenham and could make White Hart Lane his "spiritual home" for years to come. He repaid this faith with some outstanding displays, earning the club's Player of the Year awards in his first two seasons at Tottenham. He bagged 13 and 16 goals respectively in those first two seasons for Spurs.
His third season, 2004-05, was more frustrating. Despite finishing with his highest return of goals in a season for Tottenham, 17, he played second-fiddle to Jermain Defoe for much of the season. The frustration culminated in Keane storming from the dugout towards the end of a game against Birmingham City in April 2005 after all the substitutes had been used, meaning he would not get a chance to appear. He was fined £10,000 and forced to train with the reserves after the outburst and his future at the club was thrown into doubt. Article
He knuckled down after this incident but the 2005-06 season started as the previous one had ended, with Defoe being preferred to partner Mido in Tottenham's strikeforce. However, Defoe's strike-rate continued to disappoint and Keane's persistence paid off in November when manager Martin Jol eventually gave Keane a chance to replace Defoe and stake his claim.
He grabbed the chance with both hands, started playing some of the best football of his career and by March had overtaken Mido as the top goalscorer at the club. Keane would go on to finish the season with 16 league goals - making him the Premier League's joint fourth top goalscorer that season. He had also been made the vice-captain, taking the captaincy on those occasions when Ledley King was not available.
He is a firm fans' favourite, and is regarded as a great professional. Hoddle once said of Keane's personality, "He's such a bubbly lad that anyone who meets him loves him, he is great for team spirit".
Edgar Davids and Keane were involved in a training ground fight in December 2005, but since then the pair have publicly made up and can be seen encouraging each other on the pitch. Davids has claimed that this incident has inspired Tottenham into a new togetherness, firing their push for European qualification.
In February 2006, Inter's owner and president, Massimo Moratti, admitted his regret at letting Keane go some five years earlier, saying Keane was now playing "perfect" football. Article
On the March 3, 2006, it was publicly released that Keane had signed a new four year contract, keeping him at the club until 2010.
Keane was one of ten Spurs squad members to be struck down by norovirus, a form of viral gastroenteritis, on the evening of 6 May 2006 before their crucial final game of the season against West Ham United.
For such a young man, Robbie Keane has already achieved much in the international arena.
He was part of the "golden generation" of Irish youth football of the late 1990s. Under the guidance of Brian Kerr, the unfancied Irish won the UEFA U-17 and U-19 European championships in 1998, and Robbie was part of the victorious U-19 side. In 1999, he played at the World Youth Cup in Nigeria, where the Irish reached the quarter-finals before going out on penalties to the hosts.
He made his first senior appearance for the Republic of Ireland against the Czech Republic in Olomouc in March 1998, scoring his first senior goal against Malta in October that year. He won his 70th cap in Ireland's demolition of San Marino, scoring a hatrick along the way.
Keane is now the Republic's top goalscorer at international level; his 29 goals in 70 games (Most recently that hat trick against San Marino in November 2006) surpass Niall Quinn's record of 21.
He had a brilliant 2002 World Cup campaign in Japan and South Korea, scoring three goals in the republic of Ireland's four games. His most famous goal to date is arguably the injury-time equaliser against Germany in the 2002 World Cup (the only goal to be scored against Germany in the competition until the final), although his last-minute equaliser against Spain from the penalty spot was equally as dramatic.
Although the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Keane scored four goals in Ireland's eight matches and remains their most prolific goalscorer.
Following Steve Staunton's appointment as the manager of the Republic of Ireland, Keane was appointed captain. In their first game under Staunton, Keane scored the second goal in the 3-0 victory against Sweden at Lansdowne Road, and celebrated the final match at the Lansdowne Road stadium, against San Marino, with a hat trick.
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