Roy Keane on Why he turned Down Real Madrid’s Offer of a Lifetime

Posted by

Roy Keane recalls when he was offered a contract by the Spanish giants Real Madrid, when Keane was forced out of United back in 2005, he had many offers on the table one being Real Madrid.

READ MORE: Wayne Rooney’s top five moments of cheating and debauchery – including infamous granny bang

“Real Madrid offered me a year and a half deal,” Keane recounted in his second autobiography.

“Michael (Kennedy) had been over to Madrid and he’d negotiated a deal with Real. They spoke to me, too. Butragueño rang me. Emilio Butragueño – what a player he was. Michael had given me a heads-up that Butragueño would be phoning, so I took my mobile everywhere with me.

“And – how’s your luck – he rang me when I was sitting on the toilet. He said, ‘Look, Roy, we’ll be glad to have you.’ The club’s board just had to sanction the deal; it was standard procedure.

“I was going, ‘–okay’, hesitating. Michael was going, ‘What are you doing, Roy?’”

“It was the most attractive challenge in front of me, but I didn’t accept it,” he said.

“With hindsight, I should have said to myself, ‘Go. Go to Spain, live there for a year and a half, learn a different language, learn the culture. You might end up loving it. You might even stay there.’

“I took a negative approach, I think, instead of saying, ‘This is amazing, what a chance for me.’ It could have been great for my kids. The weather and the training might have given me another lease of life, another two years of playing; I might have picked up new techniques for my stretching. But instead – as usual – I was looking at what might go wrong. ‘Hindsight’ is a fucker of a word. At the time, it felt like the right decision.”

“I didn’t want to move to Spain. As much as anything else, it was fear that decided me – fear of the unknown. And I threw excuses in front of me – family, language, the kids’ education. I could imagine myself going to Madrid, and into the dressing room. I’d be starting all over again, and I was in no mood to be doing that. I’d had a tough career. Physically, I was struggling.

“It’s no good playing for a club; or, it’s not just about playing for them. It’s about having an effect on the club, having a big influence. That was one of my concerns when I left United. I was thirty-four, an experienced player. Real Madrid might just have wanted someone to do a job, sit in the middle of the park for a few games. But I wanted to go in and have an effect on a team.”

“Forget about Madrid, Everton, Celtic, Barcelona, Inter Milan and the reasons I should or shouldn’t have gone to any of them. The fact is, the morning I left United I lost the love for the game a little bit.

“I could have had every club in the world ringing me but it wouldn’t have given me that buzz, that satisfaction, that ‘Here we go’.”

More Stories Celtic Manchester United Real Madrid Roy Keane