Robbie Keane latest star to leave the Los Angeles Galaxy

Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, left, celebrates teammate Giovani dos Santos after scoring a goal against Orlando on Sept. 11.
(Shaun Clark / Getty Images)

Robbie Keane confirmed Thursday that he will not return to the Galaxy next season, ending one of the most productive partnerships between a player and team in MLS history.

Keane joined the Galaxy late in the 2011 season and went on to register 92 MLS goals and 51 assists while helping the Galaxy win three league titles. He was the league’s most valuable player in 2014, when he had 19 goals and a career-high 14 assists.

“It’s been a privilege to have played my part in the history of such a great club and I leave with memories that will stay with me forever,” Keane said in a statement issued by the team. “However I believe that now is the right time for a new challenge as I look towards the next chapter of my playing career.


“I still feel as fit and sharp as ever and I am looking forward to my next adventure.”

Keane, 36, is the second designated player to leave the Galaxy this week. Steven Gerrard announced Tuesday he was quitting MLS. Both players’ contracts expire this year.

In the midst of their most dramatic winter makeover in at least eight seasons, the Galaxy also saw valuable assistant coach Dave Sarachan depart this week and may soon lose Bruce Arena, their coach and general manager. Arena, who joined the team in 2008, won’t be under contract after this year and the U.S. Soccer Federation has expressed interest in him taking over as coach of the national team if Jurgen Klinsmann is forced out.

In addition, the Galaxy must decide whether to offer Landon Donovan a new contract and whether to exercise options on a number of others, including goalkeeper Brian Rowe, defenders Ashley Cole and Leonardo, aging forwards Alan Gordon and Mike Magee and midfielders Jeff Larentowicz, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic and Ema Boateng.

As for Keane, he was hampered by physical issues, including early season knee surgery, and was limited to 17 regular-season games and 10 goals this season. By the end of the season he had lost his starting spot.

Keane, longtime captain of the Irish national team, announced his retirement from international soccer this year. He scored in his final game to go out as the country’s leader in appearances with 146 and goals with 68. Only 14 players in history have more international goals than Keane, who also ranks 13th on the all-time English Premier League scoring table with 126 goals for six clubs.

He is 13th on the MLS scoring list too with 83 regular-season goals in 125 games. His average of .69 scores every 90 minutes is a record for players with at least 70 goals and he scored 100 goals in all competitions faster than any other player in league history, eventually running his total to 104.

“It’s hard to put into words what Robbie Keane has meant to the Galaxy,” Arena said. “From day one, Keane has given everything to this team both on and off the field and has led our club to some of its greatest accomplishments. His resume and accomplishments speak for themselves.”

That resume may not be finished since Keane insisted this month after the Galaxy’s final game that he was not finished playing.

“I’ll be playing next year,” he said. “I’ll 100% be playing. And I’ll be a lot stronger and fitter than I was this year. So let’s wait and see.”

With the departures of Keane and Gerrard, the Galaxy payroll has been reduced by more than $9.6 million. Their exits also leave the team in the hands of its remaining designated player, midfielder Giovani dos Santos, who had a difficult on-field relationship with Keane at times.

Just one of Dos Santos’ team-leading 15 goals this season was scored while Keane was on the field.

Twitter: @kbaxter11