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Robbie Keane could return to Tottenham tomorrow and not look out of place

As Tottenham Hotspur Legends took on Inter Forever in the second test event at the new Spurs Stadium, two things became abundantly clear.

Firstly, there is clearly an allure to retirement. A few players had let themselves go, with the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Teemu Tainio virtually unrecognisable from the days when they pulled on the Spurs shirt every week.

But secondly, Robbie Keane is an exceptional footballer. The Irishman is Spurs’ 11th-highest goalscorer and it showed.

He played 40 minutes, before being replaced to a deserved standing ovation from the vociferous crowd.

This is a player who retired in 2018 but he appeared to have another 10 years on the clock on Sunday.

In an action-packed first-half, Keane scored a truly sublime goal, chipping Julio Cesar without even looking. Rafael van der Vaart sent a superb ball over the top of the Inter defence and, being Keane, he refused to merely chest the ball down, instead looping the ball over the Brazilian with the sort of nonchalance normally reserved for his replacement, Dimitar Berbatov.

He wheeled away and actually received more of a cheer from the fans for his celebration than the goal itself, as he cartwheeled and forward rolled his way back into the hearts of the Spurs faithful.

He wasn’t done, however, and before the half was out he managed that rarest of beasts: a bicycle kick assist.

After his first cross was blocked, Keane took to the air and sent the ball across the six-yard box for Alan Nielsen to finish and make it 3-2 to Spurs.

When replaced by the moody Bulgarian, Keane received a simply astonishing reception.

He made his name at Spurs across two spells and by the looks of it he could easily enjoy a third.

Spurs’ current back up to the world-class Harry Kane is Fernando Llorente, and he’s only four years younger than Keane.

He plays like he’s older, however, and shows none of the pace, flair or finishing ability that the Irishman showcased on Saturday.

It may well have been a legends match, and he may well have been faced with a simply ancient defence, but this was a timely reminder of the skills offered by the superb centre-forward – one whose tenacity and energy off the ball would suit Mauricio Pochettino’s side perfectly.

The current Tottenham boss could well have turned him into a world-beater.

Article title: Robbie Keane could return to Tottenham tomorrow and not look out of place

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