Robbie Keane gave us a Greatest XI of players he’s played with

Speaking at our Museum of Mischief, the ex-Ireland international shared his best eleven of team-mates...


As if you didn’t already know, we’re celebrating our 30th birthday this year, and to mark it we’ve set up a Museum of Mischief right in the middle of Dublin’s fair city.

A few celebs from the world of sport and beyond showed up on Tuesday night to chat about this and that, one of whom was former Ireland international Robbie Keane, who was kind enough to give us a rundown of the eleven best footballers he’s played alongside over the course of his illustrious career.

Here’s the XI he named, in his own words.


“His attitude was spot on. Agility-wise, as a goalkeeper, he was very sharp. He was very difficult to beat. Always wanted to test himself against you in training, even if in a messing shooting session, he never wanted to get beat. And he pulled us out of the bag loads of times.”


“Powerful, quick, very good on the ball. A great character to have around the place. The biggest quads I’ve ever seen. A top, top player.”


“He had everything. Forget about the injuries, he was a Rolls Royce of a defender. Never looked like he was ever in trouble, he was very comfortable on the ball, deceptively quick. A top player.”


“My room-mate. A top player and a great lad. He’s very under-rated, doesn’t get the credit he deserves -he was Man City player of the year several years in a row. Brilliant for Ireland. I played with some top centre halves – Jonathan Woodgate, Rio Ferdinand – but the longevity of me and Richard playing together since we were kids means I have to go with him. We’re from the same area, played for Ireland together from the age of 18, and were room-mates ever since.”


“He played left back when I played with him. He started off there, but I knew he had something special about him. He moved forward after I left. He was special as a young lad, and we knew that was only going to get better with age.”


“The couple of years we had together in LA were great – he set me up every time. The first time I scored in MLS I just knew he was going to set me up. He could put a ball anywhere – once you made a move, he could find you. Very brilliant in possession.”


“Character. Demands the best from his team-mates, wants the best for his team. Didn’t do anything special in terms of spraying passes 50-yards, but the simple things he did brilliantly, which people from the outside don’t see.”


“He could do everything. He could play holding mid, attack, play ten, scored goals, stopped goals, created goals. All-round midfield player.”


“Different player to Becks. More wizardry and taking people on, could make a fool out of defenders. Wouldn’t want to be the right back playing against him, he’s incredible.”


“A great player. My room-mate at Inter. He had a top career, could play anywhere across the pitch. An unbelievably gifted footballer. He’d dominate the midfield at time.”


“A great lad, a funny character – keeps himself to himself, but I got on well with him. What a player. We complimented each other, I liked to drop off deep and so did he. So we had this instinct, as soon as he dropped off, I went long, and vice versa…

“The good thing about me and Berbatov was that we weren’t selfish, of course we wanted to score, but we were so happy for each other to score, and that’s the sign of a good partnership. We had this connection where everything was about the team, if he did well, I did well, the team did well. He could hold the ball up, win headers, the lot.”

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