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05th Oct 2023

Roy Keane tells David Beckham that he regrets not leaving Man United

Robert Redmond

“I wish I’d gone abroad.”

Roy Keane has said that he regrets not following in David Beckham’s footsteps and signing for a club on the continent. Beckham left Manchester United in 2003 to sign for Real Madrid.

The former England captain says he reluctantly accepted the move after he and Alex Ferguson fell out during the player’s final season at Old Trafford.

Beckham, however, has said that the transfer ultimately changed his life for the better, and led him on his current path where he is the co-owner of MLS team Inter Miami.

Keane has said that he regrets not doing likewise and leaving Old Trafford when he had the chance to.

Roy Keane David Beckham

Roy Keane on why he regrets not leaving Man United.

“(I was) Very close (to leaving). I wish I bloody had! I wish I’d gone abroad,” Keane said on the Stick to Football podcast.

“I’d agreed a deal, my contract was up a couple of times when I’d done my cruciate and come back. I had opportunities to go on a free.

“Part of me is jealous now when I see other lads going abroad because it’s a great experience for your family. But, again, I was happy at United and contented.”

“If I knew the way it would have ended,” Keane continued, before saying that he now regrets listening to his former manager and talk of ‘loyalty’.

“When I look back now, loyalty and all that type of talk with Ferguson, I definitely should have gone abroad and experienced a different league, that’s all that is.”

You can watch the full show below.

Roy Keane’s offers to leave Man United.

Keane was close to signing for Juventus in 1999. The Irish midfielder was at the peak of his powers, the captain of treble-winning Man United and on his way to being named the PFA Player of the Year that season.

Keane, however, was in a contract stand-off with Man United. The midfielder was in the final 12 months of his contract at Old Trafford and could walk away for free in 2000.

Juventus were interested in signing him, and Bayern Munich were also keeping tabs on the player. The then-Ireland captain, however, ended up signing a new contract with the Red Devils.

Six years later, when Keane eventually left Man United after falling out with Ferguson, he was offered the chance to sign for Real Madrid.

Keane reveals in his second autobiography that his representative had negotiated a contract with the Spanish giants and the club’s sporting director called him to try to seal the deal.

Roy Keane David Beckham

Keane, however, hesitated and ended up signing for Celtic instead.

“I should have appreciated Real’s offer more. It was the most attractive challenge in front of me,” Keane writes.

“I took a negative approach… It could have been great for my kids. The weather and the training might have given me another lease of life, another two years of playing; I might have picked up new techniques for my stretching.

“But instead – as usual – I was looking at what might go wrong. ‘Hindsight’ is a f***** of word. At the time, it felt like the right decision.

“I didn’t want to move to Spain. As much as anything else, it was fear that decided me – fear of the unknown. And I threw excuses in front of me – family, language, the kids’ education.”

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