Former Ireland international Stephen Hunt: 'I never really saw eye to eye with Robbie Keane'

Former Ireland international Stephen Hunt: 'I never really saw eye to eye with Robbie Keane'

FORMER Ireland international Stephen Hunt has opened up on his relationship with departing Ireland captain Robbie Keane. 

Keane, who announced his impending international retirement last week, will hang up his Irish boots after this Wednesday's friendly with Oman in Dublin.

Fans and former team-mates from across the football spectrum have been paying tribute to Keane this week but one former team-mate has taken an alternative view.

Writing in the Sunday Independent, Hunt has offered an interesting theory as to why Keane divides opinion among Irish fans, while also admitting the two never got on well.

Hunt wrote: "If he was sometimes under-appreciated, I wonder was it because of his body language. When Robbie scored a goal, he almost turned into Cristiano Ronaldo. It was 'look at me'. You could have made a lung-bursting run to set it up for him, someone could have put it on a plate, but it was still all about him.


"It didn't matter what type of goal it was, even a tap-in. It was as if he was saying, 'I am the king.'

"He definitely turns into that when he scores, craving the attention."

The relationship between the two never really improved, with Hunt citing Robbie's equaliser against Italy in a World Cup qualifier in Bari in 2009 as the straw that broke the camel's back.

Watch the goal here: 

Hunt's brother Noel wrote to the FAI claiming he got the last touch, which would have been Noel's only goal for Ireland, but the association ruled that it was Keane's goal.

Hunt added: "A good example of his hunger was the last-minute equaliser in Bari in 2009, when my brother Noel thought he'd scored.


"I thought it would have been easy for the captain to give it up - but he didn't.

"The FAI backed Robbie, no surprise there. But then this shouldn't be a surprise when you have the record he does."

Despite that, Hunt paid his respects to Keane and what he brought to the Ireland squad.

He said: "He should be proud of his achievements in international football.

"He should be proud of his goalscoring record. It undeniably makes him one of our best ever."