The day had been coming, but nobody wanted to come to terms with it. Robbie Keane announced his retirement from international football earlier this week and the Republic of Ireland striker will play his last game for his country against Oman at the Aviva Stadium next Wednesday night.
There is no doubt it will be a sad occasion to see one of the greatest Irish footballers of all time and one of the top international goal scorers the game has ever seen play his last game wearing the green of Ireland.
An incredible tally of 67 goals puts Keane up there with greats such as Gerd Muller and Jimmy Greaves. Some may argue that he scored many of those against minnows such as Gibraltar and San Marino, but his predator instinct is matched by few.
At a time when Ireland are struggling for a quality striker, Martin O Neill could do with another Robbie Keane breaking through.
However, instead of dwelling on his retirement, we should be celebrating the many memorable moments he’s given to his country. Here are five of his best goals in a green shirt in big games against the powerhouse nations of football.
World Cup 2002 Qualifier – Netherlands 2-2 Republic of Ireland
World Cup 2002 Group Stage – Republic of Ireland 1-1 Germany
World Cup 2002 Last 16 – Republic of Ireland 1-1 Spain (Spain win on penalties)
World Cup 2010 Qualifier – Italy 1-1 Republic of Ireland (Jump to 2.30 mins)
World Cup 2010 Play Off – France 1-1 Republic of Ireland
Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena