Nov 14, 2013, 7:40 AM EDT
Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane has agreed to a new deal with the LA Galaxy that could see him stay in Major League Soccer for up to three more years.
Keane confirmed the extension to Sky Sports following his side’s departure from MLS playoffs following their two-legged loss to Real Salt Lake.
“I’ve just verbally agreed a two-year contract, maybe extending to three,” Keane explained.
“I’m certainly excited about that and playing for the Galaxy in the future. I didn’t think I was going to go there and then come back to the Premier League, but I’m enjoying my football there and the club has been very good to me.”
Keane moved to LA from Tottenham in 2011 and after scoring two goals in four matches, returned to England in January for a short-term loan spell with Aston Villa. His decision to return to the Premier League so soon after leaving raised flags for some Galaxy supporters, who questioned his commitment to MLS.
But Keane proved his doubters wrong, putting up an impressive 16 goals and 9 assists in 28 games and earning himself a spot on the 2012 MLS Best XI. Then last January, with one year remaining on his contract, Keane re-up’d with the Galaxy for two more years.
And now, after another sensational season where he scored 16 goals and notched 11 assists in 23 matches, it’s déjà vu for the Irishman, signing a new deal that could keep him in a Galaxy uniform through age 36.
“As soon as you hit that 30 age mark in football, people are reluctant to give you contracts but this will be the third contract I’ve signed since I’ve been there and it shows the faith they have in me.”
Keane paid homage to the strength of MLS, noting the added strain designated players feel to perform. “Since I’ve been there, it’s been a strong league. It’s a tough league because of the structure that works there with everyone competing at roughly the same level. Every team can beat every other, so it’s very competitive.
“When people come over to play in it, I always tell them, ‘don’t think you’re coming over for a holiday’. There’s a lot of pressure on the three designated players [each team can sign three players outside of the league’s salary cap] as people are expecting you to deliver all the time.”
Despite Keane’s getting up there in years, this seems a decent deal for the Galaxy. Keane takes care of himself and is still able to beast opponents on a consistent basis. His increase in years also means he’s likely to say focused on MLS and won’t potentially spread himself thin by seeking winter loan deals in Europe.
Instead, Keane is looking to put himself in line to coach and is looking forward to earning his badges. “I’ve still got a good few years left in me,” he said. “But I’m looking to do my coaching badges in January in Ireland. It’s something I’m passionate about and need to get into if I want to stay in the game.”
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