He was the butt of world-wide jokes when labelled an ‘unidentified fan’ alongside David Beckham at an NBA game. But Robbie Keane could be set for the last laugh. Becks plays his final match in the MLS this weekend, and Tallaghtfornia’s finest is perfectly placed to take up the mantle as the highest-profile player in American soccer.
With speculation rife that he will spend the close-season back in the Premier League, Keane has enjoyed a superb campaign State-side. He was named in the MLS team of the year after a 16-goal season while his manager Bruce Arena called the 32-year-old the best player in the league.
Despite not earning a nomination in the league’s official list of end-of-year awards, Robbie Keane also sits atop the Castrol Index, the list measuring a player’s performance stats during games. Keano had a goal or assist in 15 of the Galaxy’s final 19 games, leading the team out of the Western Conference to a second consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup final.
Joining Beckham and Landon Donovan, Keane was signed as one of Galaxy’s three designated players replacing Juan Pablo Angel. This week Ireland’s captain spoke of his wish for Chelsea’s Frank Lampard to join him at the Home Depot Center.
With the MLS season drawing to a close this weekend, Keane is contemplating another loan spell in England. Aston Villa are among the clubs chasing the Dubliner’s signature. Last year’s stint at Villa Park saw Robbie net three times in seven appearances.
His goal at Newcastle United took his Premier League total to 126 and made him the 11th highest scorer ever in the English game. Not long after, he surpassed Bobby Charlton’s international record for a British or Irish player notching his 50th and 51st goals for Ireland against Macedonia.
This week, David Beckham announced he was leaving the MLS after six years in the States and his final game for LA Galaxy will be the MLS Cup final against the Houston Dynamos.
Beckham went to the MLS to raise the profile of the game and he succeeded in sending his own market earnings into the stratosphere. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tom Cruise, Brand Beckham rivalled that of his club, the LA Galaxy, dubbed by rival fans as the Real Madrid of the MLS for buying up their own version of Galacticos.
Robbie Keane won’t be jetting round the world to promote a product or miss club games to schmooze at events like the Olympic Games.
He may have the glamorous wife and often spends his time at the home of friend and actor Vinny Jones, but Keano lives only for the game and has done his talking on the pitch. With LA Galaxy eager to fill a vast David Beckham-sized hole, Keano now looks set to earn recognition.