Roy Keane says he was thought something was wrong after playing ‘a couple of the Italian teams’ in the mid-2000s.Photograph: Alex Morton/Action Images
Gary Neville and Roy Keane have accused some of the opponents they faced with Manchester United in the Champions League of doping and suspect Italian teams were not always clean.
Neville and Keane, former United captains, played in the tournament from the 1993-94 season until 2010 and 2005 respectively.
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Neville told the Stick To Football podcast: “There are a couple that stick in my mind … I think there were a few teams that we played against that weren’t clean. We thought it at the time.”
Neville referred to cycling and other sports in which taking performance-enhancing stimulants has proven to be prevalent. “My point is that when you look back now at what came out after in cycling and other sports and [with] doctors … We thought at the time there were things that physically [were not correct], because sorry, we were fit, we weren’t drinkers, we were fit [so we thought:] ‘That’s not right. There’s something not right.’ I came off the pitch against an Italian team and thought: ‘That’s not right.’ I know that a couple of the other lads in the mid-2000s thought exactly the same thing.”
Keane concurred. “When we played certain teams I would be walking off and you were absolutely shattered,” he said. “I remember it. I would be looking at the players I played against, a couple of the Italian teams, and they looked like they’d not even played a match.”