They may not yet be on speaking terms after one of the most bitter and long-running spats in the history of Premiership football. However, Alex Ferguson has nonetheless hailed Roy Keane as one of the greatest ever players he has worked with.
The 73-year-old was reflecting on his hugely successful 26-and-a-half-year stint as manager of Manchester Utd in a relaxed interview during the BBC’s coverage of the World Snooker championship.
He singled out Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo as the best footballer he coached, but also name-checked Keane as a “great player”.
He said: “Ronaldo, [Paul Scholes] and [Ryan] Giggs, plus [Bryan] Robson, [Roy] Keane and [Eric] Cantona. They were great players. We were very lucky at Utd that way.”
Fergie’s praise of the fiery Corkman comes just days after Keane extended an olive branch to his former boss, insisting he wouldn’t change the 12 years they spent together at Manchester Utd for anything.
Keane also said he was ready to approach Ferguson for a chat when they were on the same flight recently, but decided against it as he was with his wife at the time.
In the BBC interview, Ferguson — who was chatting to ex-snooker star John Parrott — also admitted he missed not being involved in top-flight management.
He said: “I miss the staff at United and the players. The dressing room was a great place to be, with the camaraderie, the humour and mickey-taking. I miss all that and I miss winning.”
He also defended the mega-salaries of top soccer stars, adding: “I don’t think money matters for the good players, I really don’t. I think winners are winners and they’d be playing for £10 or £1m a week. For really top players, it doesn’t matter to them.”
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