Roy Keane has admitted he received an offer to play for world football giants Real Madrid during his Manchester United days.
The United legend said he rejected the offer from the Spanish giants because he was “fearful of the unknown”.
Real Madrid legend and then sporting director, Emilio Butragueño, telephoned the Irishman back in 2005 when he was close to leaving Manchester United.
Emilio Butragueno, the former Real sporting director, telephoned Keane in 2005 when he was on the brink of leaving Manchester United.
Roy Keane rejected the move to Madrid in favour of joining Celtic but in his latest autobiography he admits to rejecting the move:
The Times have published this excerpt today:
“Michael [his agent] had given me a heads-up that Emilio Butragueño would be phoning, so I took my mobile phone everywhere with me.
“And – how’s your luck – he rang me while I was sitting on the toilet. He said: ‘Look Roy, we’ll be glad to have you.’ The club’s board just had to sanction the deal.
“I should have appreciated Real’s offer more. It was the most attractive challenge in front of me but I didn’t accept it.
“In hindsight, I should have said to myself: ‘Go, go to Spain, live there for a year and a half, learn the language, learn the culture.’
“I took a negative approach. The weather and the training might have given me another lease of life, another two years of playing.
“As much as anything else, it was fear that decided me – fear of the unknown. It’s no good playing for a club, it’s about having a big influence.
“Real Madrid might just have wanted someone to do a job, sit in the middle of the park for a few games. But I wanted to go in and have an effect on a team.”
Former Manchester United team mate David Beckham was playing for Real Madrid at the time, having joined two years earlier.
Roy Keane spent only half a season in Scotland, winning the 2005-06 Scottish Premier League before retiring in June 2006.
During his 12 and a half years with Manchester United, Roy Keane won seven Premier League titles and four FA Cups. He famously missed the 1999 UEFA Champions League final through suspension, which Manchester United dramatically beat Bayern Munich 2-1 with both of the Red Devils’ goals coming in stoppage time.