Roy Keane.

Roy Keane praises Dimitri Payet's tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo

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The popular theory heading into Sunday night's European Championship final between France and Portugal was that, if the latter were going to win, it would be thanks to an inspirational performance from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although Portugal did emerge victorious, a tough challenge from France's Dimitri Payet in the early stages of the game prevented that eventuality from playing out, as Ronaldo was forced off the pitch before 30 minutes had been played.

The West Ham midfielder has since come in for a lot of criticism for the robust nature of the tackle, including from Ronaldo's own mother. However, one man who is refusing to blame him is Roy Keane - a man famed for his tough-tackling playing style.


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In fact, speaking to ITV Sports via, the former Manchester United captain went as far as to suggest the challenge that effectively took Ronaldo out of the game was "a great tackle".

"It's unfortunate," explained Keane. "It's not a foul. If anything it's a great tackle, he's just unfortunate with the trailing leg and the momentum of the tackle.

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"Football is a physical game. We're just glad he won, we couldn't have stood any more tears!"

The challenge, which can be seen below, was certainly a robust one as Payet went in with full force in a bid to regain possession. The 29-year-old midfielder himself insisted yesterday that it was never his intention to injure Ronaldo and that he "got the ball back".

Whether it could be defined as a "good tackle", though, is another question altogether, and one that certainly wouldn't be agreed upon by the entire nation of Portugal and every Real Madrid fan.

Tough tackling

Considering Keane's own playing career, however, it is perhaps not surprising to see him champion the physical nature of Payet's tackle on Sunday evening.

During his playing days, the former United midfielder was no stranger to letting his opponents know he was there by leaving a little extra on tackles. You only have to ask Alf Inge Haaland about that.

Roy Keane, Alf Inge Haaland

You might think the current Republic of Ireland assistant manager may have had some sympathy for Ronaldo considering they used to share a changing room at Old Trafford.

That has never been Keane's style, though, and he has never been afraid to burn bridges by speaking his mind. It is part of what makes him such a great pundit for ITV.

Unfortunately for the Irishman, his praise for Payet's tackle is unlikely to be met with agreement from the vast majority of football fans, many of whom were looking forward to Ronaldo putting on a show in the Euro 2016 finale.

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Roy Keane
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Dimitri Payet
Portugal National Football Team
Manchester United
Euro 2016

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