Eric Cantona once explained the Man Utd incident that even alarmed Roy Keane

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United legend Roy Keane is one of the most notorious footballers in history.

Infamous for his dirty tackling, no-nonsense leadership and do-or-die attitude, Keane has become an icon of the English game and arguably the most feared player to ever grace its shores.

You only need to look at Keane’s deadpan punditry and scathing comments on live television to get an idea of his doggish, albeit brilliant, playing style for the Red Devils.

So, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of wild and wacky stories that have emerged about Keane – who picked his fair share of fights with opponents AND teammates – over the years.

However, we’re pretty sure there’s only one story that escalated into such an extreme situation that even Keane himself wasn’t up for it. Have we piqued your interest there? Thought so.

Galatasaray vs Man Utd

Well, there’s one episode that Keane disclosed in his autobiography that fits this criteria and it came from the infamous ‘Welcome to Hell’ match between United and Galatasaray in 1993. 

Amongst the partisan atmosphere and threatening baton, the incident reportedly revolved around Cantona being bludgeoned by an officer in the Turkish police.

“In the dressing room Eric went crazy,” Keane wrote. “While the rest of us just wanted to get out of there, he was determined to go back outside to sort out the rogue cop who’d been wielding his truncheon.

Cantona confirms the story

“Eric was a big, strong lad. He was serious. He insisted he was going to kill ‘that f****r’. It took the combined efforts of the manager, Brian Kidd, and a few of the players to restrain him.

“Normally I wouldn’t have backed off a fight, but even I wasn’t up for this one. There were a lot of Turks out there!”

Sheesh… and after decades of failing to address the incident himself, Cantona decided to explain what happened during a podcast with as part of a promotional tour for his 2017 book.

Cantona said: “He killed me from behind, not kill me, but he beat me from behind and disappeared. And I’m sure that the images from the video are somewhere, but they lost everything. Convenient. 

“If it was someone else other than the policeman, then maybe I would have reacted differently. But a policeman?! He disappeared, disappeared like a weak man.”

So, it would be fair to say that Cantona was riled up by the situation and so much so that Keane stayed out of it as Sir Alex Ferguson and others desperately tried to calm things down.

Maybe Keane is human, after all. 

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