Roy Keane is undoubtedly one of the hardest men in football. That is a fact.
Oh, what, you don’t believe us? That’s fine. Go and take it up with him and see what happens.
We certainly won’t be backing down on the claim anytime soon, merely out of fear, as he is one seriously fierce individual – even these days.
Throughout a glistening career where he established himself as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever midfielders – and one of the best in Europe during his peak – Keane also earned a reputation for being notoriously tough.
There wasn’t – and probably still isn’t – such a thing as ‘too physical’ or ‘too rough’ in Keane’s book, with him loving a crunching tackle or a scrap on the pitch just as much as the game itself.
It was a mentality thing, mostly. Keane was a serial winner and the captain of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United – there was no time to be a pushover. His mindset was elite and while it would sometimes land him in hot water, it was what propelled United forward and lifted his teammates on the field.
When Keane was angry on the pitch, you’d know about it. Just go and ask Alf-Inge Haaland, or Patrick Vieira – two men he regularly didn’t see eye to eye with and the latter of which felt the full force of Keane’s physicality.
He wasn’t against overstepping the mark. And as a young footballer, that should frighten you to death, especially if you’re tasked with making his afternoon a miserable one in order to snatch a result against him and his side.
Footage from Vintage Footy on YouTube has surfaced of Cole and Keane coming to the boil during the end-to-end contest, with Keane clearly not happy about Cole on the field. As a result, he throws his weight around and tries to rough him up away from the play, and the referee has a word with him to suggest him to calm down.
At this point, any player with sense would take that as a warning and steer clear of Keane – who is now evidently disgruntled – whenever the ball landed at their feet. Not Cole, though.
Clearly upset with the referee not being willing to take action against Keane, he seeks revenge in the best way possible. And boy does he get it. Take a look for yourself below.
WATCH: Joe Cole ‘gets revenge’ on Roy Keane
He’s as brave and as skilful as he is perhaps stupid, is Cole in that clip.
‘Getting revenge’ on Keane is never an advisable idea at the best of times, so to take the ball and make him look incredibly silly, by rouletting past him and sending him to the shops in the middle of the field? Yeah, that’s something. Kid’s got guts, if nothing else. He even has a cheeky look back for a moment after he’s sold him. Wow.
Let’s take a look at what some fans had to say in response.
At this point, it had become pretty apparent that the young Englishman was destined for the top, having exploded onto the scene with all the skill and ability in the world at West Ham.
Seriously, a young Cole was electric and perhaps a touch ahead of his time. It was audacious showings of skill against some of the Premier League’s best players – like Keane – that earned him a move to Chelsea in 2003.
Unfortunately, though, injuries ravaged the English forward throughout his career and we never got to see him at what many thought was his potentially world class best.
Still, he enjoyed a fine career and is adored by many, having played for West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and others, as well as becoming a fan favourite during a loan spell at Ligue 1 outfit Lille in 2011/12, rubbing shoulders with a young Eden Hazard.
Fair play to you, Joe. Incredibly brave, wholly unnecessary, but absolutely worth it.