LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has confirmed that Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane, rather than Lance Donovan, will captain the MLS champions for the coming season.
“Robbie Keane will be our captain to start the season, and he will be our captain this season,” he said.
“He’s a fabulous choice as captain,” said the former US coach. “He’s a quality player, he’s a quality leader, so Robbie’s prepared to lead this team.”
Keane has been a considerable success in LA since signing for the club in August 2011 and defender Todd Dunivant welcomed the decision: “He leads by example first and foremost. He’s a bit of a jokester, and he’s one of the guys – or, as he would say, he’s one of the ‘lads’.
“He’s a guy that’s passionate, and that shows on the field. It makes everybody better because he holds a certain standard that you have to meet, and if you’re not, he’ll let you know about it. He’s the guy who’s gonna let you know when things are good, and he’s definitely going to let you know when things are bad,” continued the 32 year-old American.
“He’s a guy who easily leads by example and tends to use his mouth as well. Usually when he gets overly fired up, you tend to not understand a word he says, so you can kind of just nod and get away with it.”
Galaxy kick off their new season this weekend with a home game against Chicago Fire.
The departure of Beckham is likely to impact the Galaxy box office more than their performance on the field with Robbie Keane taking on the leadership role.
Landon Donovan, the U.S's all-time top scorer, will miss the first two months of the season while he takes a brief sabbatical from the game, but he and Irish international Keane will likely be joined by a well-known international player, according to team owner Tim Leiweke.
"I promise that we're not done, the best one is coming, well, don't tell Robbie that the best one is coming, the second best one to Robbie is coming," Leiweke told the teams' website.
A new signing might not arrive until the end of the European season in May - Leiweke named Brazilian Kaka, currently with Real Madrid as his prime target when Beckham departed in December and the club has also been linked with Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard.
The Galaxy will have a new goalkeeper in Italian Carlo Cudicini, signed from Keane's old club Tottenham Hotspur, but the team, coached by ex-U.S. national coach Bruce Arena are not shy about splashing the cash.
"As long as these guys stay committed to wanting to have that target on their back and wanting to create a legacy and wanting to step up to the pressure of being part of the LA Galaxy, I always tell Bruce, we've got your back and we'll get you the resources that we need," he said.