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Ten things you may not know about Robbie Keane

He is a blood relative of Morrissey and has cost over €100m during his career; UEFA.com puts Republic of Ireland's prolific captain Robbie Keane under the spotlight.

Robbie Keane's career ©Getty Images

Robbie Keane etched his name into the record books on Saturday when he became the highest-scoring player in UEFA European Championship qualifying history with a quick-fire hat-trick during the Republic of Ireland's 7-0 Group D defeat of Gibraltar.

At 34, the Los Angeles Galaxy forward has been playing senior international football for 17 years, scoring a national record 65 goals in 136 Ireland appearances. If either he or Cristiano Ronaldo score once tonight, they will join Turkey's Hakan Şükür and Denmark's Jon Dahl Tomasson as one of the top scorers in all UEFA European Championship games – including matches at final tournaments – on 22 goals. UEFA.com highlights some lesser-known Keane facts.

1. Keane is related to former Smiths frontman Morrissey. "Robbie and I share the same Irish blood," wrote Morrissey after meeting Robbie Keane for the first time at a Los Angeles Galaxy game in 2013. "His late grandfather (Thomas Nolan) being my own father's cousin." Keane was surprised to say the least. "I didn't know, obviously, until he told me," he said. "Then I asked my mother: 'Why did you not tell me this?.'" Morrissey was thrilled to see Keane in action for the first time, writing: "To watch him on the pitch – pacing like a lion, as weightless as an astronaut, is pure therapy. Robbie, the pleasure, the privilege is mine."

2. Keane got his chance to play for his boyhood heroes Liverpool FC when they signed him in 2008, but he turned down an earlier chance to hook up with the Anfield club as he opted to move to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at the age of 16, despite interest from the Reds.

"Everyone knows I have supported Liverpool all my life, and I could have joined them as a schoolboy," he said. "But I wanted first-team football much quicker than I would have got it at Anfield, and I was certainly proved right with the way my career developed at Wolves."

3. Keane's late father, also called Robbie, was a devoted musician. Ireland fans have made a YouTube hit of a clip of Keane singing Garth Brooks' If Tomorrow Never Comes in a Dublin pub.

Robbie Keane during his Inter days
Robbie Keane during his Inter days©Getty Images

4. Keane has a surprisingly ordinary nickname: Keano. Early in his playing days he was called Keane-Óg (Óg is the Irish language word for 'young' or 'junior' and he was called that to distinguish him from the other Keane, Roy). In his short spell in Italy with FC Internazionale Milano, he was given the moniker 'Baby Irish'.

5. Keane won the first major honour of his career when he helped the Republic of Ireland to win the UEFA European Under-18 Championship title in Cyprus in 1998. Ireland beat Germany in a shoot-out, but the normally reliable Keane missed his kick and the crucial penalty was converted by striker Liam George.

6. Keane is one of only 12 players to have scored in three consecutive FIFA World Cup finals matches, having achieved the feat at the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.

7. Keane has hit the target for the Republic of Ireland in every calendar year since his first goal, against Malta, in 1998.

8. Keane's dedication to the national side has been a constant in his career since his first cap, as a 17-year-old against Argentina, in 1998. In 2003 he missed a UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier in Georgia to attend the funeral of his father, but he flew out immediately afterwards to play against Albania and was widely praised for his bravery at a difficult time.

9. Keane was famed for his cartwheel goal celebrations after finding the net for the Republic, but the 34-year-old has abandoned the somersaults in his advancing years.

10. Having cost a reported €115m in transfer fees in his career, Keane is one of the most expensive players of all time.

Keane's club career at a glance
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC: 73 league games – 24 goals
Coventry City FC: 31–12
FC Internazionale Milano: 6–0
Leeds United AFC: 46–13
Tottenham Hotspur FC: 238–91
Liverpool FC: 19–5
Celtic FC (loan): 16–12
West Ham United FC (loan): 9–2
Aston Villa FC (loan): 6–3
Los Angeles Galaxy: 83–53

Top scorers in all UEFA European Championship games (qualifying, play-offs and final tournament)
22: Hakan Şükür (Turkey)
22: Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark)
21: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
21: Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland)
20: Davor Šuker (Croatia)
19: Miroslav Klose (Germany)
19: Raúl González (Spain)