Republic of Ireland international, Robbie Keane has announced his retirement from international football.
The 36-year-old will end his 18-year career with the Republic of Ireland in the friendly against Oman on August 31.
Keane made his debut for the Boys in Green in 1998 against the Czech Republic and he has gone on to make a total of 145 appearances for his country, scoring 67 goals.
IN FULL: ROBBIE KEANE STATEMENT
“Today, I am announcing my decision to retire from International football following the upcoming game with Oman on 31st August in the Aviva Stadium. It has been a wonderful journey for me to have played with the Irish national team for over eighteen years since I made my senior international debut back in 1998. I have enjoyed it all.
“It has also been a great honour, for both me and my family, to have been given the opportunity to captain my country for over ten years. As a young boy growing up in Dublin playing football on the street I could never have imagined the path my life would take – it has exceeded my wildest expectations.
“I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to play for and captain my country – it was my ultimate goal all those years ago and it has been, by far, my greatest achievement. I would never have believed all those years ago that I would get the opportunity to play for my country 145 times and to score 67 goals and through it all, I have never stopped chasing the next one!
“I have been on the most incredible journey with the Irish team and fans over the last 18 years and words cannot express how proud I am to be Irish. Each and every time I put on the green jersey it is such an honour.
“I have grown up playing for Ireland & look back at the 17 year old kid making his international debut, taken under the wing of Mick McCarthy & the FAI, and think of the person I am today and realise how playing for Ireland has been such a huge influence in my life.
“My teammates over the years, the backroom staff, managers, FAI and the fans became my second family. I always looked forward to meeting with the team – it became a home away from home no matter what part of the world I was living in.
“I have so many fantastic memories of days with the Irish team and have made so many friends both on and off the pitch over this time. I have been very fortunate to play at major tournaments for Ireland over the years and I will cherish all of those memories but one in particular stands out – the 2002 World Cup and scoring the late goal in Ibaraki, Japan against Oliver Kahn. The atmosphere, the adrenaline & the buzz from the fans that night is something I will always remember.
“I would like to thank all those who have supported me throughout my international career and who helped to make it all possible. There are too many people to thank each personally but a few I must recognise.
“Thanks to my parents and my family for everything they have given me and who have always helped me throughout with their absolute support and advice. I would also like to acknowledge the guidance of my uncle, Noel Byrne, for encouraging me to convert into a striker at Fettercairn and to Larry Fox & Jem Loughran who looked after me so well at Crumlin United.
“Thanks to the coaches and managers I have worked with at all stages of my international career and who helped me develop as a player.
“To Mick McCarthy – thanks for taking a chance and giving me my international debut as a 17 year old and to all the International managers I have played for since then right up to the present day with Martin & Roy and the special backroom staff. “Euro 2016 was a great experience for the team – we can look forward with a lot of confidence.
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