Robbie Keane reveals why he left Liverpool to re-join Tottenham Hotspur in 2009
Robbie Keane was an icon at Tottenham Hotspur in every shade of that word when he left to join Liverpool in the summer of 2008. Keane, who has been a bit of a journeyman throughout his playing career, joined Spurs in 2002 from Leeds United.
Before that, he had played for teams like Wolves and Inter Milan. At Tottenham, he formed a lethal partnership with iconic strikers of that time, including Dimitar Berbatov and Jermain Defoe. And that is why Spurs fans were a bit disappointed when he left for Anfield.
However, he returned to White Hart Lane after just half a season at Liverpool. Manager Rafael Benitez saw the Ireland icon rejoin Tottenham for a fee of £16million. Speaking about his decision to leave Anfield so quickly, he told the official Liverpool website:
“Obviously Tottenham wanted me back and I wasn’t playing as regularly as I’d liked to, which is obviously frustrating for any player. You don’t want to be looking forward to sitting on the bench when it comes round to the weekend.”
That is a strange claim, considering he was only ever left as an unused substitute four times in his entire LFC career. He left the Reds after making 28 appearances for them, starting 23 of them. Keane added:
“No matter who you are as a player, I think you’ll always find that difficult, especially me who just loves playing football. Of course I was expecting to stay there for a long, long time but different circumstances, a different manager’s opinion just changed that.”
Nevertheless, Keane’s return was a joyous occasion for those at Tottenham. He was 28 years old then and was playing some of his best football. He scored 15 goals in 52 appearances after re-joining Spurs and left for Celtic on loan in January 2010.
A year later, he was sent out on loan once again, this time to West Ham United. Keane was then permanently sold to Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS in the summer of 2011 by manager Harry Redknapp for a fee of £3.5million.
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Keane could have been so much more if he had a bit more stability in his career. He achieved a fair bit nevertheless, having won the English League Cup with Spurs and the MLS title thrice with LA Galaxy.