Roy Keane reveals how he chose Celtic over Real Madrid and more football giants

Roy Keane for Celtic
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire)

Roy Keane has revealed that when he chose to join Celtic, he had the chance to opt for Real Madrid instead.

The Irishman is best known for the 12-and-a-half rollercoaster years he spent at Manchester United, where he won a plethora of major trophies, but also had many moments of controversy. His career at United was abruptly ended in November 2005, when his contract was cancelled mid-season.

Keane suddenly became the most sought after free agent in European football, despite the fact he was in the later years of his career. Many years of being linked with Celtic Park were ended when he opted to see out his career with the Bhoys. Incredibly, he snubbed the advances of many European giants, including Los Blancos themselves.

While speaking on Sky Bet's 'Stick to Football' podcast, Keane said: “The toughest decision I had to make during my playing career was leaving Manchester United at the time that I did. One of the things I do regret is not playing abroad.

“I had the offers to go and play for teams around Europe, and I should have been braver to have done it, but I never did. I always had a soft spot for Juventus, and they offered me a deal, but it wasn’t that enticing. The club that offered me the most amazing deal ever was Bayern Munich, but I didn’t take it.

“When I left Manchester United, I went up to Celtic, but I could have gone to Real Madrid for 18 months. It was emotional, a little bit, which is fine because I don’t mind making those kind of decisions. But I was 34 years old and I just thought, ‘If I got to Real Madrid would I make an impact’.”

Keane may have wished that he took the opportunity to play at the Bernabeu as his time in Glasgow was short-lived. He was not able to shake off the hip injury that plagued his later years at Old Trafford.

Roy Keane jostling with a Real Madrid player for Manchester United in 2002
Roy Keane could have played for Real Madrid -Credit:Getty Images

Keane decided to retire at the club, after only seven months in Scotland. Fortunately, Keane did not depart Celtic emptyhanded. He managed to add the Scottish Premiership title to the wide array of major honours he won on the red side of Manchester.

At United, Keane won four FA Cups, seven Premier League titles and the Champions League.