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Robbie Keane: Leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv was a tough decision

07 Jun | BY Robbie Keane | MIN READ TIME |
Robbie Keane: Leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv was a tough decision

The Betway ambassador reflects on his successful first season in management after stepping down from Maccabi Tel Aviv, and looks ahead to Euro 2024.

It has been a tough decision for me to leave Maccabi Tel Aviv FC. I would like to thank all the players, coaches, owners and especially the fans for making this an unforgettable season.

I am very proud of everything we have achieved together as a team, and most proud of the hard work and dedication that resulted in us winning the Toto Cup and league title, guaranteeing Maccabi a Champions League spot.

I think the hardest thing for any coach is going in at a new club and winning the league, because it’s done over a long period of time. I’m very blessed and honoured to have done that.

We all got together to celebrate with the players and my staff. I thought it was important to all celebrate together, because the guys in the background have worked tirelessly for the whole season. We had a nice, low-key dinner and some music, and it was a great evening.

For a first season, it couldn’t have gone any better. I wish we’d have won the other cup, but maybe I’m getting a little bit too picky! If you asked me before the season whether we could achieve what we have, I’d have said it would be tough, but I loved the challenge and I’m very glad we did it.

To finish my first season with two trophies is very special. Wishing everyone involved at the club all the best for the season ahead.

Looking ahead to a great summer

I’m really looking forward to the Euros kicking off. It’s always a good tournament to watch, and there are some great teams in it this year. Growing up, watching the Euros was always great, and I was lucky enough to play in two of them during my career.

I always loved watching Ireland at the Euros, but the team that always stands out in my memory was the Dutch team of 1988. With Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman in the famous orange jersey, they were a top, top team with top players.

England are among the favourites this year, and rightfully so. Even though the England teams of the past were very good, this generation looks to be even stronger. The squad looks very strong as a whole, and it’s up to them to go on and win it now.

Denmark are the most dangerous team in England’s group. They’re always solid, tough to play against and hard to break down. I think Denmark could cause them problems, but I don’t see England facing any trouble with Slovenia or Serbia. I expect them to win the group.

My players to watch

There are a few players I’m looking forward to watching this summer, starting with Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham. They’ve been incredible this season, with Foden winning the Premier League and Bellingham doing the double in his first year at a massive club like Real Madrid. It will be really interesting to see how they do at the Euros.

Kylian Mbappe is another obvious one because he’s just got his move to Real Madrid. How hyped will he be to go on and impress , like he’s done in other tournaments?

Another that stands out is Florian Wirtz, the No. 10 from Leverkusen, who’s had an incredible season, going unbeaten in the Bundesliga and winning the double. I think he will be a big, big surprise for Germany in their home tournament.

On the Spurs front, I’ve been very impressed with Micky van de Ven at centre-back. He seems to be growing and growing, and getting stronger, so it’d be good to see him playing at the Euros beside Virgil van Dijk. That looks like a strong combination for the Netherlands.

Germany will be brilliant hosts

I’ll probably be going to a few Euros matches and having a look at which players impress. It’s always good to go and watch these games, because you get experience from watching good teams and good players, and you learn a lot.

For me, as a manager, it’s always good to see different systems and different ways that teams play against each other.

I think Germany will be great hosts. They have all the infrastructure, they have unbelievable stadiums and they’ve always been good hosts. I’m sure all the fans of each country will certainly have a good time, and it’ll be a good party time for everybody.

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Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Republic of Ireland's all-time record goalscorer who also scored 355 goals in 737 club appearances.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Republic of Ireland's all-time record goalscorer who also scored 355 goals in 737 club appearances.