The news that has been surfacing in several media outlets for past few weeks, is now officially disclosed by Indian Super League 2016 champions ATK in social media. They have acquired the signing of iconic Republic Of Ireland hitman Robbie Keane on a Bosman transfer following his contract expiration at LA Galaxy.
Keane, 37, spent majority of his club career with Premier League heavyweights Tottenham Hotspur and was a teammate of current ATK boss Teddy Sheringham who replaced Jose Molina at the Kolkata-based franchise. Sheringham, the former England international, is also a talismanic figure in English football and remembered for his realm with Manchester United and Spurs. The three times Premier League, 1998-99 UEFA Champions League and 1992-93 Premier League Golden Boot winner had a previous managerial experience with League Two outfit Stevenage following a successful stint as attacking coach of West Ham United. However, Sheringham struggled as Stevenage boss and was sacked midway of 2015-16 season following a series of disappointing outcomes. He is now set for a new challenge in India with ATK who have been crowned champions twice in three seasons since it’s inception.
The club was going through a turmoil as Spanish Giants Atletico Madrid ended their three-year partnership with them and the team has now been renamed as ‘Aamar Tomar Kolkata’. Top foreign recurits like Iain Hume, Borja Fernandez, Sameehg Doutie and Tiri left the club and the Kolkata outfit needed a marquee recruit for title defense.
Keane, who also played for Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham United, Leeds United etc during his playing career, has scored 317 times in 726 appearances in club football. Also, he appeared 146 times for Republic Of Ireland netting 68 goals. A player of his caliber is believed to serve the purpose and carry the legacy forward set by the likes of Luis Garcia, Borja Fernandez and Iain Hume in past three years.
Photo by Aaron Sholl