Roy Keane was one of the greatest midfielders in Premier League history, but the Manchester United legend had a nasty side to his game.
Back in September 1997, Keane sustained a cruciate injury against Leeds United. After Keane went down in the Leeds box, clearly in agony, then-Leeds midfielder Alfe-Inge Haaland leant over Keane and berated him for, he thought thought, hamming up his injury.
One of life’s great grudge-holders, Keane stewed on this slight for all of four years before exacting his revenge on his opposite number, who had since signed for Manchester City, with one of the ugliest incidents in Premier League history.
In April 2001, relegation candidates City visited Old Trafford with the likes of Haaland, Paul Dickov and Steve Howey in their side.
But few look back at that game and recall the scoreline (for what it’s worth, it was 1-1. Teddy Sheringham opened the scoring for United before Howey levelled late on), instead they’ll remember Keane’s shocking challenge on Haaland.
Scroll down to see Keane’s horror tackle
The ball bounced to Haaland in midfield who, wary of the onrushing Keane, flicks the ball away from his old foe. But Keane, studs showing, teeth baring, was never going for the ball.
His studs connected with the outside of Haaland’s knee, flipping him into the air, leaving him on his back on the Old Trafford turf.
Keane issued a few words to his fallen adversary and, with a look of complete acceptance, was sent off by referee David Elleray.
In 2014, Keane claimed he hadn’t meant to injure Haaland deliberately, but conceded it was a bad tackle.
In his book, The Second Half, he wrote:
Was I going around for years thinking: ’I’m going to get him, I’m going to get him.’? No. Was he at the back of my mind? Of course he was. Like Rob Lee was, like David Batty was, like Alan Shearer was, like Patrick Vieira was. All these players were in the back of my mind: ‘If I get a chance I’m going to fucking hit you, of course I am.
Haaland finished the game and played four days later, for Norway. A couple of years later he tried to claim that he’d had to retire because of the tackle. He was going to sue me. It was a bad tackle but he was still able to play four days later.
Whether or not he meant to cut Haaland’s career short, he certainly didn’t have much sympathy for him.