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Robbie Keane reveals that a number of clubs are seeking his signature

Published 25/11/2016

Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane retired from international football with 146 caps and 68 goals
Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane retired from international football with 146 caps and 68 goals
Goodbye: Robbie Keane salutes the fans in Dublin last night during his last game for the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland Manager Martin O'Neil and Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane shake hands as Keane is taken off during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane's son Hudson eats a journalist's microphone during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dubllin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane (left) and Oman's Abdulsalam Amur battle for the ball during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane (left) sings the national anthem prior to the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane (left) sings the national anthem with his children Robert Keane and Hudson Keane prior to the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the match during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PA
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PA
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane' wife Claudine during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

Robbie Keane remains "as hungry as ever" and insists he still has plenty of goals left in him as he seeks his final challenge in football.

The 36-year-old, the Republic of Ireland's leading scorer with 68 goals, has just ended his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, where during a five-year-spell he became one of the most significant players in Major League Soccer.

Keane is well travelled, having played for the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Celtic, and while he has not ruled out a return to the United Kingdom he is relishing the prospect of starting one last adventure somewhere new.

It is understood clubs in Australia, China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are all vying for his signature but wherever he ends up, Keane is confident he can still do a job.

"I still feel sharp - I look after myself very well - and I've certainly got a lot of goals left in me. I still feel as hungry as ever," he told Press Association Sport.

"I am very open to what comes my way. I look forward to another challenge because I definitely see me having a couple of good years left.

"I want to go somewhere I can have an impact and help the team go forward or help a league grow - basically the same reason I went to the MLS.

"I wouldn't rule out anything. There would definitely be an interest in the UK.

"I'd never say never but it has to be the right club and the right people involved - an ambitious club who want to get in the Premier League or stay in the Premier League.

"I'm not frightened of a challenge - I haven't been since I was 16 and left Dublin - and I'm not scared of moving to a different place because everywhere I've moved to has never been my home - Ireland is my home."

Keane's spell in Italy was a short one (he lasted only six months after the manager who signed him, Marcello Lippi, was sacked) so he had no real time to tackle the language barrier.

So how would he cope if he joined a club in the Chinese Super League, for example?

He added: "Of course the language might be an issue but if you look at the players who have gone there and I don't imagine they are speaking the language!

"There is not one choice. Everything is on the table and I'll see what is the best option for me and the family - which is the most important thing."

Keane is the first to admit his farewell season, immediately after being named the MLS' best-ever import with the Galaxy, was not his best.

A few injuries, plus Euro 2016 involvement with Ireland, meant he was restricted to just 17 appearances, although he still scored 10 goals.

Having turned 36 in July - the same age as Galaxy team-mate Steven Gerrard, who has just announced his retirement - Keane knows his age may be a barrier for some clubs.

However, he has been heartened by the number of enquiries he has already had about his availability and is determined to squeeze every last minute out of his playing career.

"Last season was not a satisfying season for me in terms of being away for a long time with the national team and injuries," he said.

"But whether you are young or old you have to be judged on what you are doing at the time and I don't see many people scoring as many goals as I have.

"If teams don't want me because of my age it doesn't bother me, but teams have been calling me so it is obviously not an issue for them.

"Over the years ex-players have said 'Play as long as you can'. I'm not stupid and when my body is no good I'll stop but I still feel sharp.

"As with every player it eventually comes to an end, but it's not there for me.

"Maybe after these couple of years I'll plan for the future, but the focus for me is the next 18 months to two years."

Robbie Keane saluted the crowd as his international career came to an end
Robbie Keane saluted the crowd as his international career came to an end

Irish Independent

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