Football

Robbie Keane Shows Class In Recalling Rafa Benitez' Odd Treatment Of Him At Liverpool

Robbie Keane Shows Class In Recalling Rafa Benitez' Odd Treatment Of Him At Liverpool

Liverpool fans crafted a unique song for Robbie Keane during his brief time at Anfield. Conscious of the 'Keano' chants that assailed opposition midfielders at Old Trafford for years, Liverpool fans were eager to avoid any possible plagiarism allegations.

As a result, they sang the following words to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah: 

His name's not fucking Keano, it's Robbie Keane.

Sadly for Keane and Liverpool, his time at the club did become unique in the sense that it was just about the only club at which Keane did not fill his boots.

He scored five goals in 19 league appearances for Liverpool before returning to Spurs after six months, after the supposed dream partnership between he and Fernando Torres failed to materialise. In fairness to Keane, this was less his fault than it was Steven Gerrard's: the then-captain enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Torres by playing behind him, meaning there simply wasn't a place up front for him.

Benitez did try to accommodate him: on the left-wing. Keane recently sat down with Graham Hunter for a lengthy and typically brilliant interview, and he recalled Benitez' attempts to turn him into a kind of lefty Dirk Kuyt.

He wanted to change me to a left winger and I mean I am clearly not a left winger, and that is obviously clear for everyone to see. The first 20 minutes he wanted me to play left wing and obviously I had never played it before, so it was new to me.

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Hunter responded with a question garnished with a hint of surprise, as he understood that Keane still respected Benitez highly.
Keane is impressively free of any bitterness toward Benitez as he recalls how a dream move went awry almost instantly:

Of course. I respect every manager I've worked with. They all have their ideas, different ideas, and whether I agree with them it doesn't matter. I'm not a left-winger, as we've established from twenty years of playing football, but tactically he was probably one of the best I've worked with. He knows the game inside out. But he tried to turn me into something I'm not, and that was always going to be a recipe for disaster as someone used to scoring goals.

When I did play up front I scored goals. But my problem was that when I did play, I wasn't going to play the next day. Which, for a striker, is very difficult.

Strikers rely on confidence, and as soon as you get those goals, you know there's more to come. So that kills you a little bit, and that was the hardest bit to take. For me, and I'll mention it briefly, I'm not waking up on a Saturday morning to sit on the bench and pick up my wages. I love football.

When you have that adrenaline, with that Saturday feeling, and you can't wait to play. So to be sitting on the bench is the biggest kick in the backside. I was sick to the stomach, and I couldn't do it. I didn't want to leave after six or seven months. I wanted to stay there, scoring loads of goals and winning stuff, but if you're not playing and you know there's no light at the end of the tunnel, there's no point in hanging around. That's not me.

We cannot recommend the full interview highly enough.

Disclaimer: Liverpool fans also had a second chant for Keane: "He's big, he's red, he talks like Father Ted: Robbie Keane, Robbie Keane. That one's probably better. 

See Also: Arjen Robben Decides To Kick Carlo Ancelotti While He's Down

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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