Kolkata, Aug 4 (IANS) ATK on Friday roped in Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane for the Indian Super League (ISL) season 4, the franchise said in a statement.
The 37-year-old, who was a free-agent after leaving American football club LA Galaxy in 2016, will join former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Teddy Sheringha, who is the coach of defending champions ATK in the Kolkata outfit.
Keane has been a prolific scorer playing for theRepublic of Ireland with 146 International appearances and scoring 68 goals.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have played for some of the best clubs in England and the USA, as well as representing my country at several major tournaments,” Keane said.
“At this stage of my career, the offer to experience a new league and culture in Asia appealed to me. To join the current Indian Super League champions is a great pleasure and through hard work I hope to bring the ATK fans more success and enjoyment over the course of the 2017/2018 season,” the former Inter Milan forward added.
Keane was Ireland’s top scorer at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and also represented his country at UEFA Euro 2012 followed by Euro 2016.
Commenting on the signing, club’s principal owner Sanjiv Goenka said: “As a football fan, I am eagerly looking forward to some Irish magic touch on the field when Robbie plays his first game in our colours.”
“His envious record as a centre-forward while playing for his country Ireland, English Premier League Clubs or Major League Soccer teams is known to all football fans. I am sure it will be a great association and a learning curve for our entire team ATK.”
Head coach Sheringham said: “His enthralling skills with the ball and willingness to take on the opposition without inhibition is an asset for any team. I am sure ATK’s striking abilities will be bolstered with Robbie in the side.”
“I am sure the young Indian players we have selected from the domestic draft will learn from him about the way he goes about preparing for a major tournament like ISL.”
Keane scored 92 times in his five seasons with LA Galaxy, and has been keeping himself sharp by training with Airtricity League Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers in recent months.