Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has revealed he rejected a move to Real Madrid before signing for Celtic in 2005.
The Irishman is one of the best midfield players I’ve seen in a United shirt and, arguably the best leader of the lot (Captain Marvel was a little before my time), but I always believed that Sir Alex Ferguson manoeuvred Keane out of the club when he realised the midfielder was past it.
Whatever you think about his fallout with Ferguson, Keane was an incredible servant to United from 1993 to 2005 – when he left the club by mutual consent.
His decision to join Celtic fulfilled a boyhood dream for Keane but he received offers from across Europe – even FC United of Manchester.
In his autobiography, ‘The Second Half’, Keane reveals Real Madrid director of football Emiliano Butragueno reached out to him, but he opted against a move to the Bernabeu.
“Butragueno said, ‘Roy, we’ll be glad to have you’. The board just had to sanction the deal, it was standard procedure”, as per quotes from Mundo Deportivo.
“I should have appreciated Real’s offer more. It was the most attractive challenge in front of me.
“I was too negative. The weather and training might have given me a new lease of life and another two years of playing.
“I was looking at what might go wrong, and at the time, it felt like the right decision.
“I didn’t want to move to Spain. It was fear of the unknown that decided it for me.”