Robbie Keane has been named the new captain of LA Galaxy as previous skipper Landon Donovan continues his self-imposed exile. Proof of Keano’s increase in profile also came as he was pictured at another NBA game this week, and this time they knew exactly who he was.
The Dubliner assumes the captaincy from Donovan, who has not played any football since the end of last season. With MLS coping with a Beckham-sized gap in its pulling power, Ireland’s record-goal scorer is capitalising on increased exposure.
After the infamous ‘unidentified fan’ incident, this week Keane was photographed at another NBA game in California and this time the caption read: ‘Los Angeles Galaxy player Robbie Keane poses for a photograph during a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.’
Keane will now hold the armband for both club and country following Bruce Arena’s announcement ahead of the MLS season kick-off this weekend.
“Robbie Keane will be our captain to start the season, and he will be our captain this season.. (He’s) a fabulous choice as captain. He’s a quality player, he’s a quality leader, so Robbie’s prepared to lead this team.”
Citing physical and mental exhaustion, Landon Donovan has taken a break from all football since helping LA Galaxy to a second consecutive title last season. An agreement of sorts in in place with Galaxy and the 30-year-old is expected to return in late March but Keane will remain the captain. Donovan has not played for the US national team since last August and will miss World Cup qualifiers with Costa Rica and Mexico.
Strangely, the former Everton star sparked something of an online hunt as rumours emerged that he’d taken a trip to Cambodia during his personal hiatus. In fact, that’s exactly where he is but he has assured fans that he intends to return both to the Galaxy and the US national team.
Meanwhile Keane has continued his hot streak in an LA shirt scoring in the pre-season game with Tijuana, following on from his 16-goal haul last term which landed a second title and earned the 32-year-old a contract extension.
Keane will play a key-part in Ireland’s crucial World Cup qualifiers with Sweden and Austria this month. However, his impact as a 90-minute man is now under question. Should Ireland suffer poor results in Stockholm and Dublin, their dreams of reaching Brazil will be all but over. Keane’s future in an Irish shirt will also be in doubt as will his retention of the captain’s armband at international level.