Reputations mean nothing to Roy Keane. Absolutely nothing.
We’ve all seen the brilliant footage from his playing career of the moment he walked straight past Ronaldo and Diego Simeone before a Champions League clash between Manchester United and Inter Milan in the 1990s.
As Keane walked down the line, shaking hands with Inter’s players, he ignored both Ronaldo and Simeone because they were too busy tying up their shoelaces.
If the Man Utd legend believes you’ve disrespected him, that’s you in his bad books forever.
And the last place you want to be is in Keane’s bad books.
One famous manager who knows this all too well is Jose Mourinho.
Back in 2017, when Mourinho was in his first season of managing Man Utd, Keane was particularly outspoken in his criticism of the Portuguese coach.
“I’m sick to death of him,” Keane admitted after Mourinho complained about United’s hectic fixture schedule.
“I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my life, why do we have to listen to that garbage?
“The guy is talking absolute nonsense.”
Following a 1-0 win for United over Saint-Etienne, Keane also said it was a “pity” that Mourinho had regained his swagger following a run of positive results.
“You knew once he started winning a few games he’d get back to his old cocky self,” the former United captain added.
And before that, the fiery Irishman had admitted in his role as a pundit: “I’ve very little time for Mourinho.”
Now, Mourinho is obviously a divisive figure who many people love to hate – but was there a specific reason why Keane had little time for the revered coach?
It seems there may have been.
Rewind to September 2014 and cast your minds back to the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Oscar, Diego Costa and Willian – but before the full-time whistle was blown, Mourinho attempted to make an early exit back to the dressing room.
He went over to shake the hands of Keane, who was working as Villa’s assistant manager at the time, and Paul Lambert.
But neither Lambert, who said he’d shake hands in the tunnel while pointing to his watch, or Keane were in the mood to accept Mourinho’s offer of a handshake.
Instead of exploding, which he may well have been tempted to do, Keane simply ignored the Chelsea boss and continued to look forward with a deathly stare.
Watch the footage here…
But asked about the incident a week later, Keane let rip: “The game is still going on. You wouldn’t do that on a Sunday morning, you would get knocked out.”
He continued: “I don’t mind all that [mind games] but the game is still going on. It’s disgraceful. I’ve seen him doing it to other managers; it is a disgrace.”
Asked whether Mourinho’s actions were arrogant and disrespectful, Keane added: “What do you think? That’s a stupid question.”
We’ll never know for certain whether this was the reason why Keane was so critical of Mourinho when the Portuguese tactician was in charge of the Red Devils.
But it’s clear that Keane lost respect for Mourinho on that afternoon six years ago.
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