'I should have retired' - Man Utd legend on signing for Celtic after Old Trafford departure
Former Man Utd star Roy Keane has opened up about life after Old Trafford and the realisation that it was time to retire from football.
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Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane claimed he should have retired after his departure from Old Trafford.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder played for 12 years between 1993 and 2005 and helped the Red Devils win seven league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League. He is viewed as one of the club’s greatest players in the Premier League era and was a key enforcer in Alex Ferguson’s dressing room for a number of years.
However, the relationship between the pair broke down mid-way through the 2005-06 season when he criticised a number of his team mates during a video on MUTV.
Keane left United by mutual consent in November 2005 and spent the final six months of his career with Scottish giants Celtic who went on to win both the league and cup double that season. Despite this success, Keane claims he should have retired immediately after leaving Ferguson’s side.
During an episode of the Stick to Football podcast, he explained: “I should have retired when I left Manchester United, the day I left the club. I even lost a bit of the love for the game after that, I left United and went up to Celtic, my hip was at me, painkillers for training, tore my hamstring two or three times, commuting, thinking I’m 34 now.
"I still had a year left on my contract [at Celtic] and I went to see the hip specialist and they said that the longer I play the worse damage. The beauty is that when I rang Gordon Strachan, I told him that I’m finished, I was losing sleep before I rang him but as soon as I put the phone down I had closure on my career, no hesitation, it wasn’t a relief but something was lifted off me.”
Keane experienced a number of injury problems in his career including tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in 1997. A hip problem also kept him out for several months in 2002 and eventually contributed to his retirement.
Co-presenter Gary Neville, who went on to inherit the captain’s armband from Keane, echoed his former teammates comments. Neville spent the entirety of his career with the Red Devils from 1992 to 2011 but claims he should have called time on his career a year earlier due to injury issues.
He explained: “I got injured in 2007 and I missed the whole of the Champions League season in 2008 – that wasn’t the point where I felt that I was going to retire because I was still 33, it was when I came back after eight months and felt like the game had moved on.
“The injury was the ankle, I was out for eight months and had lots of problems with it, but then I also started pulling my calves and I was having those injections that felt like oil.
“When I came back, every season I thought I was going to retire but they just offered me another year. I retired at Christmas in the 2010-11 season, and I should have definitely retired the year before, I knew that I’d gone.”