(Editorial) – It didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen. Robbie Keane turned 36-years-old this summer and was still a quality player for the Republic of Ireland National Team. It seemed he was going to play for them until he wasn’t called up anymore or he retired from club football.
Earlier last week, Keane announced that he will retire from international play via Instagram. He will play one final game for his country on August 31. With Keane’s contract with the LA Galaxy up at the end of 2016, how does this decision affect his future with the club? Let’s break it down.
Robbie Keane Retires From Irish National Team: What It Means For LA Galaxy
In the interview, Keane made it clear that he wants to keep playing beyond 2016. He would prefer to keep playing with LA, but he’ll go elsewhere if he’s not wanted. I’m sure an English team or two would have interest. Keane could of course return to Ireland. Any club in the League of Ireland would be happy to have him.
My argument in July was that the Galaxy should wait out the end of 2016 before making a decision. Keane has had injury issues the past few years. His productivity is down this season (7 goals, 2 assists, 13 starts), but some of that could be due to the team’s chemistry issues as much as his deterioration with age.
Re-Sigining With the Galaxy
Keane’s decision to retire from his national team can only help his cause with re-signing with LA. He will no longer miss games during international dates. His 36-year-old body will also be traveling a lot less with no flights to and from Europe.
This will result in a fresher and more readily available Robbie Keane. He can focus exclusively on the LA Galaxy.
In his statement, Keane alluded to again to wanting to remain with the Galaxy: “While this is the end of my international career, I hope to continue to play for some years yet. I love my time playing with LA Galaxy and intend to focus my energies on continuing my club football for a few more seasons.”
Recent form has caused some concerns however. The Galaxy are struggling. Keane has not appeared in three of the last four games. He picked up an injury this week in training. That’s on top of previously going through the league’s concussion protocol and having an orbital bone fracture. He did not have a good game against New York City FC a few weekends ago, possibly due to injury.
Getting on the Field
Keane needs to get back on the field and stay there. He needs to appear productive, even if the rest of the team is struggling. As the undisputed captain of the Galaxy, he needs to show his leadership to help turn things around.
His heath and productivity the rest of the season should determine whether the Galaxy negotiate. How productive he is and his leadership could determine how much the Galaxy pay him. It’s unclear whether he would take a pay cut, possibly a TAM level contract or less? If he is willing, that could help the Galaxy improve their team with another big name DP, possibly Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Signs suggest it’s possible. If Keane’s public statements show his desire to remain, I can only imagine what he’s saying behind closed doors to head coach Bruce Arena and company.