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Sir Alex Ferguson labelled him the best he ever worked with, aspiring footballers and Reds everywhere worshipped the ground he walked on: Roy Keane epitomised the unwavering spirit and desire to succeed that Manchester United stands for.

Few sportsmen lead from the front the way Keane did, on and off the pitch - and the fact that more than 70,000 United and Celtic fans paid their tributes to him at his testimonial before he retired in June 2006 says it all. Images of him rallying the troops, covering every blade of grass in the process define the 1990s for United. He was not afraid to speak his mind in front of the media, particularly if he felt his colleagues were not reaching the high standards he expected. The Cork-born midfielder began his career with Cobh Ramblers after failing to gain an apprenticeship in English football. Brian Clough took him to Nottingham Forest before he completed a then-record £3.75 million switch to Old Trafford in the summer of 1993. Two goals on his home debut, a 3-0 win over Sheffield United, served notice of what would follow, and the gladiatorial Keane won the first of seven Premiership medals that season, adding a European Cup, Intercontinental Cup and four FA Cup winners' medals along the way. He took over the United captaincy from Eric Cantona at the start of the 1997/98 campaign, but his season was cut short by a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained in a tackle with Leeds' Alf-Inge Haaland at Elland Road in September 1997. The 1998/99 season saw Keane experience a range of mixed fortunes. On his way to leading United to an historic Treble, a sending-off in the FA Cup semi-final replay victory over Arsenal was followed by a yellow card during arguably his greatest display in a Red shirt in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus, forcing him to miss that unforgettable night in Barcelona when United were crowned European champions. Aside from his influential displays for United, Keane - who scooped Footballer of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards in 2000 - proved an inspiration to his country and winning close to 70 caps for the Republic of Ireland. At the time of his departure, Keane was injured, having broken a metatarsal bone in his foot in United's Premiership match against Liverpool at Anfield on 18 September 2005. He was still out of action on Friday 19 November, when a shock announcement to top them all was made. Manchester United issued a statement through declaring that Keane's Old Trafford career was over. The Reds had reached agreement with Keane to end his contract immediately, enabling him to join Celtic. In said statement, Sir Alex Ferguson described Keane as "the best midfield player in the world of his generation" and "one of the great figures in our club's illustrious history." Six months after joining Celtic and helping them secure the Scottish Premier League title and Scottish League Cup, Keane announced his retirement from professional football on 12 June 2006 following medical advice.

Read Less About Roy Keane
  • Position


  • Country

    Republic of Ireland

  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    v Arsenal (N) Community Shield

  • Left United


Roy Keane
Roy Keane says

"The days I had at United were probably the best days of my life. They were absolutely fantastic lads and we were winning trophies.”

Liam Miller in action for United in 2004

Legends to turn out for Liam Article

Roy Keane will lead a team of United legends in a tribute match for Liam Miller in front of 45,000 fans in Cork.

Roy Keane jumps for the ball.
CM: Roy Keane 🇮🇪
Paul Scholes says

"A fantastic leader, and someone you'd love to have alongside you in midfield."

Keane on Keane

“I'm not the most skilful of players. I just work hard on my game and play to my strengths.”

Roy Keane in action at Old Trafford.

Roy Keane - Still demanding high standards Article

Steve Bartram pays tribute to Roy Keane, on the 25th anniversary of the former captain's United debut.

Manchester United legend Roy Keane.'s Steve Bartram says

"Today's Keane is seen as edgier than a switchblade, forever just a jape away from immolating co-pundits – even viewers – with a glare."

Manchester United legend Roy Keane.'s Steve Bartram says

"Fundamentally driven by fear of letting anybody down, from friends and family to supporters and the club itself, Keane gave everything he had in pursuit of success; good and bad."

Manchester United legend Roy Keane.
Roy Keane says

“It’s not just about playing for a club. It’s about having an effect on the club, having a big influence.”

Roy Keane.

Roy Keane captained United to three successive Premier League titles between 1998 and 2001. Overall, he won seven championships.

Keane on Keane

“Goalscoring is something you can't teach a player.”

Keane on Keane

“I hate losing in training. I'm always arguing, having a go at everybody. I take my job very seriously.”

Keane on Keane

“Only three summers ago, I was in my local pub cheering the Republic of Ireland on in the World Cup. Now I'm playing with them. Fantastic!”

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