"KEANO! There's only one Keano! There's only one Keano!"
A player that will always be a legend in my mind, Robbie Keane was one of the terrace legends during his spells at Tottenham Hotspur. Making nearly 300 appearances and scoring an astonishing 121 goals, Keane will forever be remembered fondly by Spurs supporters.
Part of the exodus from troubled Leeds United, Keane joined Spurs for £7m in the summer of 2002. That season, he scored 13 in 32 appearances, winning his first of three Tottenham Player of the Year awards. That goal tally would be the lowest for his subsequent five seasons at Spurs, as he became the 15th player in club history to surpass the century mark against Sunderland in January of 2008.
His partnership with Dimitar Berbatov after the Bulgarian's arrival at the club was extraordinary. The strikers seemed to click instantly and provided a fruitful total during their time together, even sharing PL Player of the Month honors in April 2007. When Ledley King was out of the Spurs side, Keane captained the squad and gloriously lifted the Carling Cup trophy with his co-captain after their 2008 triumph over Chelsea.
In a sharp turn of events, the striking pair were sold in the summer of 2008: Berbatov to Manchester United and Keane to his "boyhood club," Liverpool. Keane's time on Merseyside was incredibly disappointing for Liverpool fans, and Harry Redknapp brought the Irish captain back to North London during the winter of 2009.
From there, Keane failed to rediscover his form of old, possibly due to the gap left by Berbatov, but most likely a more simple loss of form. He was loaned out to Scottish giants, Celtic, at the end of the 2010 winter transfer window, where Keane became prolific, scoring 16 times in 19 total appearances.
When Keane returned to Tottenham, he was far down the pecking order and only made 10 appearances, scoring once in a Carling Cup loss to bitter rivals, Arsenal. Once again, the Irishman was loaned out, this time to East London with West Ham, but his form failed to improve.
People may say Keane moved to LA Galaxy for the money, but I believe he needed a new challenge, a new start. There's no doubt in my mind he could still perform at a high level in Europe, but it was best for both Tottenham and the player that they parted ways.
Robbie Keane helped me fall in love with soccer, as well as Tottenham Hotspur. He was the first Spurs player I saw score live and in person while playing the NY Red Bulls last summer. I cheered emphatically, marvelled at his classic arms-out-palms-open celebration, and sang his name loudly with the rest of the Tottenham supporters.
Treat him well, Los Angeles. You have a supreme talent and a legend in your possession.