Keane: 'Fear of the unknown' stopped me joining Real Madrid

The Irishman spent 12 years at Manchester United but reveals his regret at rejecting an offer to move to Spain in 2005 – ahead of his final season playing football

Former Manchester United star Roy Keane has admitted he regrets not accepting an offer to join Real Madrid, citing his “fear of the unknown” as the reason he turned down a move.

Keane makes the revelation in his new book, titled The Second Half, and says he did not fully appreciate what was on offer upon hearing of the Liga giants’ interest in 2005.

The Irishman was coming towards the end of his career and had spent 12 years at Old Trafford but felt he would not have been able to give his best at that stage of his career.

“Michael [Kennedy: Keane’s agent] had given me a heads-up that Emilio Butragueno would be phoning, so I took my mobile phone everywhere with me,” he wrote.

“And – how’s your luck – he rang me while 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.

“I should have appreciated Real’s offer more. It was the most attractive challenge in front of me but I didn’t accept it.

“In hindsight, I should have said to myself: ‘Go, go to Spain, live there for a year and a half, learn the language, learn the culture.’

“I took a negative approach. The weather and the training might have given me another lease of life, another two years of playing. As much as anything else, it was fear that decided me – fear of the unknown.”

And Keane, who would go on to play for Celtic in a final swansong season in 2005-06, believes he would have struggled to have the impact he would have wanted at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It’s no good playing for a club, it’s about having a big influence,” he added.

“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.”

Get Adobe Flash player

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *