This is Part 13 in a series of articles on players who will play for the Los Angeles Galaxy this season.
One can only be great in Europe for so long. But once a player has done all he can for a club he has been a part of for a while, there comes a time where he has to move on and continue his footballing journey elsewhere.
Such is the case with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane. Known to his friends and his fans simply as "Keano," the 31-year-old captain of the Republic of Ireland National Team ventures across the pond after leaving a legacy of scoring in the Premier League.
While it is too soon to say that Bruce Arena's Galaxy have found a solution to their scoring problems in spite of leading Major League Soccer as of this article date, the answer might come in the form of team's new No. 14.
Keane was born on July 8, 1980, in Tallaght, the largest town in South Dublin County, Ireland. At a young age, Keane began playing football for youth side Crumlin United.
After spending time in the Wolves youth system, Keane made his professional debut on Aug. 9, 1997, scoring a brace against Norwich City. During the 1998-99 campaign, Keane led Wolves with 16 goals on the year. His talent level was increasing, and during the 1999-2000 season, Keane signed to Coventry City for £6 million.
In 34 appearances for Coventry, Keane scored 12 goals and would make a move to Inter Milan. The move did not turn out as Keane would have hoped. After 14 appearances and three goals for Inter, he was loaned to Leeds United.
While Keane did produced nine goals in his first 14 starts for Leeds, the following year saw his form drop, with only 10 goals in 33 appearances. Add the fact that financial troubles were affecting Leeds, and Keane found himself sold to Tottenham Hotspur in the 2002-03 season for a fee of £7 million.
The move ushered in the golden age of Keane, who scored 13 goals in his first year with the Spurs. In 2003-04, Keane single-handedly kept Tottenham up by notching a team-leading 16 goals.
The following season was not so bright. In spite of scoring 17 goals for the Spurs, he was not given enough time to start on the pitch, being passed over for Jermain Defoe, Frédéric Kanouté and Mido.
In 2005-06, it was the same-old second fiddle story for Keane, but Martin Jol, then-manager for Spurs, realized he made a mistake by giving Defoe special preference. The payoff? A league-leading 16 goals, as well as occasional vice-captaincy in lieu of Ledley King.
Injuries started to take their toll on Keane, and in the 2006-07 season, a knee ligament injury sidelined him for a good deal of the campaign. After returning from injury, he formed a partnership with current Manchester United ace Dimitar Berbatov. Keane ended the year with 22 goals in all competitions Tottenham competed in—15 of those in his last 15 appearances of that season.
After recording his 200th appearance for Tottenham in 2007, Keane signed a new five-year deal with the Spurs. The payoff was huge: He became the thirteenth player in the history of the Premier League to score 100 league goals. In 2007, Keane scored 31 goals and recorded 13 assists in 40 starts, with 19 league goals in the calendar year.
On Jan. 19, 2008, Keane recorded his 100th goal for the Spurs against Sunderland. He also led Tottenham to the Football League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea. Liverpool wanted in on this phenomenon, and they got it, coughing up £20.3 million in the process.
Unfortunately, the Reds made a mistake in interfering with the formula for success at White Hart Lane. Their fears were realized when he only scored five goals in 19 appearances for Liverpool. Tottenham would get Keane back for £12 million and would proceed to loan him out to a couple of clubs.
During the 2009-10 campaign, Keane was loaned out to Celtic, scoring 12 goals in 16 appearances. As a result of his efforts, Keane was named Celtic's Fans' Player of the Year that season. The following year, Keane was loaned out to West Han United. The Hammers were hoping that a little Keane magic would save them from relegation. Keane only managed two goals in nine appearances, and West Ham were relegated.
Keane made his international debut against the Czech Republic in March 1998 and scored his first goal at the senior level against Malta in October 1998. He won his 70th cap in Ireland's 5-0 shellacking of European minnow San Marino. Keane earned his 100th cap against Argentina in August 2010 and recorded his 50th goal on June 4 against Macedonia.
As of this article date, Keane has 51 goals in 109 appearances with The Boys in Green.
After the 2010-11 season ended, Keane's days with the Spurs were ending. After 91 goals in 238 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur along with 159 goals in 438 appearances for eight different clubs, Keane signed a two-year deal with the Galaxy on Aug. 15 for £3.5 million.
Yes, one can only be great in Europe for so long. But when Saturday comes and the Los Angeles Galaxy take to the pitch, you can be certain there will be a little Irish magic waiting to take shape in the form of Robbie Keane, the greatest footballer to ever play for the Republic of Ireland.
Let the Guinness flow.