Roy Keane insists he has no regrets over the horror tackle which left Alf-Inge Haaland’s career all but over in 2001.
The ex-Manchester United skipper had ruptured his cruciate ligament while challenging the Norwegian four years prior, and then Leeds United man Haaland accused Keane of play-acting as he winced in pain on the turf.
When the Irish midfielder faced him again in a fiery Manchester Derby, he settled the scores with a knee-high tackle and the former City defender never played a full 90 minutes of football again.
Much has been said of the incident in the proceeding years and this time, Keane has spoken candidly about the challenge and his full-throttle style of play in general.
Ahead of the upcoming European Championships, Sky Bet are releasing short episodes of ‘Micah and Roy’s Road to Wembley,’ documenting the pair’s car journey to the national stadium.
Micah Richards, who made his name at City and since as a beloved Sky Sports pundit, quizzed passenger Keane on any possible regrets from decisions made through his hard man playing approach.
“Can I tell you something? I have never regretted anything I have done on a football pitch, never,” the no-nonsense fellow player-turned-pundit revealed.
“I’ve been sent off and I’ve let my team down.
“To me, I was in the battle with people, I was in the middle of the park.”
Keane has maintained that he never wanted to injure the former Norway international, who also played for Nottingham Forest before moving to Elland Road, where the first incident took place.
However, the ex-Republic of Ireland captain did admit he sought to leave a mark on his opponents.
“No, no of course,” stated the seven-time Premier League title winner when referring to the notion of the injury being inflicted on purpose.
“Did I go to hurt players? Of course I did.
“I’d never apologise for that. And people went to hurt me.”
Keane was renowned for having a fiery temper on the pitch but doubled down on his denial by saying: “I never, ever went out to injure a player in my life.
“Did I go out to hurt players? Course.”
“When you go for a ball in the middle of the park, there’s a good chance that somebody is going to get hurt.”
Keane must have felt like he was opening up too much with Richards, joking with his giggling driver: “This is like my shrink.
“Getting all these things off my chest.”
Alf-Inge is now also known for being the father of superstar Ering Haaland, who is one of the hottest properties in world football.
Having been born in Leeds, many believe the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker will return to England one day, and Keane’s former club have been heavily linked with the forward.
He told Sky Sports in April: “United want to get back to winning titles so they’ll certainly need another striker.
“Harry Kane, Erling Haaland, I’d take either of them.
“Probably Haaland because of his age and the investment behind it but I wouldn’t say no to Kane either if he was the second option.”