Republic of Ireland legend Robbie Keane has revealed who was the greatest player that he has ever played with throughout his storied career.
Keane, who is the record goalscorer for the Republic of Ireland, played with 11 different clubs during his 21-year stint as a professional footballer.
Keane on the best footballers he played alongside
As a result, the Dubliner has graced pitches alongside numerous world-class players at various stages throughout his playing career.
Keane, who was speaking to Gary Lineker on the MOTD podcast, recalls some of the greatest players he’s played with before landing on 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modric, during his time at Tottenham Hotspur.
“Luka Modric, the magician”
“I get this question a lot,” Keane began.
“You’re probably the same, it’s very difficult to pick one. I’ve been trying to pick my brains all day today. I was lucky enough to play in Italy with (Clarence) Seedorf, (Christian) Vieri and people like that.
“I didn’t get the chance to play with R9 (Ronaldo) because that’s when he had his knee problems. For me, that would have been absolutely…disappointed I didn’t get to play with him but going to Steven Gerrard, Beckham and Modric.
“I don’t know about you, Gary, but I always looked at people who helped me. If I was going on strike partners, it would be Berbatov, no question about it. Because what he did for me, I think the two of us helped us in terms of games.
“But if I had to really knuckle down one as an all-round player, I would probably say Luka Modric, the magician. What he’s done, not just when I played with him. When he first came in, we didn’t really know too much about him.
“As soon as he walked in the door, the lads were like, ‘he’s a bit small isn’t he? He’s a bit slight. I can’t really see him setting the Premier League alight.
“A couple of things he did and you thought, ‘Oh, that was good'”
“We were in Spain on preseason. It was a couple of training sessions (in). He was quite quiet. He was only starting to learn English, he spoke a little bit but not much. We did a couple of training session, five-a-sides, a round-robin five-a-side.
“A couple of things he did and you thought, ‘Oh, that was good’. And then he did it again. Then he took someone, did a step-over and bent it into the top-corner and then you’re like, ‘this lad, he’s certainly got something.’
“He’s definitely one that’s up there.”
“And then as the weeks went on during preseason, you thought ‘this lad has really got something but can he do it in the Premier League?’ He took to it with ease. I’m just proud to see what he’s done since then.
“As an all-round player, because I liked to link in that number 10 role at times, me and Berbatov used to chop and change, he’d always try to find you, he’d always look for that pass forward. He’s definitely one that’s up there.”
Keane and Modric played alongside each other at White Hart Lane for just over two seasons. The Irishman left for LA Galaxy mid-way through the 2010/11 season. While Modric joined Real Madrid in 2012 for £30m.