Quite a good number of Irish players have strutted their stuff on the global football stage over the years.
Whether from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, these gentlemen have wowed the soccer world with their outrageous ability and drop-dead skills.
Today we will profile the 5 best Irish soccer players ever.
1. George Best
Best was undoubtedly one of the most talented and skillful players that ever played the beautiful game.
George became prominent when he featured for English giants Manchester United between 1963-1974.
The attacking midfielder scored 137 league goals in 361 appearances, helping them win 2 First Division titles (1964-65, 1966-67) and a European Cup (1968).
He was also a Northern Ireland international who played for the national team 37 times between 1964 to 1977, with 9 goals to his name.
He never participated in the World Cup with Ireland and is regarded as one of the best players who never played at a World Cup.
George Best had many off-field issues and problems, but that has not stopped people from recognizing him as one of the best-ever footballers in history.
2. Roy Keane
The tough-tackling Irishman is one of his generation’s most respected soccer players.
The retired defensive midfielder was noted for his on-field leadership and never said die attitude that always propelled the teams he played for.
Keane featured most prominently for Manchester United, with whom he won several domestic league titles and cups and the UEFA Champions League trophy in 1999.
He is the joint most successful Irish soccer player of all time, with 19 major trophies in his club career, 17 of which he won during his time at Manchester United.
Roy was also the captain of the national team of the Republic of Ireland. Keane had 67 caps for Ireland with 9 goals to his name.
3. Robbie Keane
The retired Ireland international was one of the most devastating and prolific strikers during his playing days.
Robbie was blessed with great pace and trickery, which helped him evade opposition defenders throughout his career.
Keane scored over 250 league goals in 586 appearances for various clubs in a career that spanned 21 years between 1997-2018.
The attacker also enjoyed a long, fruitful career with the national team of the Republic of Ireland.
He made 146 appearances and scored 68 goals making him Ireland’s highest all-time goal scorer. Keane is also the most capped soccer player on the Irish national team.
4. Johnny Giles
The former Leeds United player is one of the best players ever to have represented the Republic of Ireland.
The midfielder featured 59 times for the national team between 1959-1979, with 5 goals to his name.
Giles also enjoyed a long successful club career spanning 26 years.
Giles is considered one of the greatest soccer players to have come out of the Republic of Ireland.
He won several domestic league and cup titles during his heyday.
5. Shay Given
The retired Irish goalkeeper was one of the greatest shot-stoppers to ever play in the English Premier League.
Given featured predominately for Newcastle United and Manchester City during his 23-year career.
Shay was also the main goalie for the Republic of Ireland between 1996-2016 and was in goal for them during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan/South Korea.
He made 134 senior national team appearances.