Roy Keane's Most Iconic Moments as a Footballer, Manager & Pundit

Roy Keane
Roy Keane's best bits | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A very happy birthday to Roy Keane. The Manchester United great turns 49 today, and is sure to be celebrating in a very mellow, un-opinionated way. Classic Keano.

The midfielder carved out an illustrious career at the beating heart of Sir Alex Ferguson's stunning Manchester United side who enjoyed such sustained success at the very top of English football.

Keane has kept himself busy since his retirement in 2006, with stints in the dugout and rants on the television. From the class to the controversial and everything in between, let's take a look at Roy Keane's best bits...

Hope you're having a good one, Roy.

Manchester Derby Winner, 1993

Keane signed for United ahead of the 1993/94 season following Nottingham Forest's relegation, and made his mark instantly with a brace on his debut.

Not renowned for his goal scoring, the tough tackling midfielder then grabbed the winner to seal a famous comeback victory over Manchester City.

United had been trailing 2-0, but a second half Eric Cantona brace drew them level. Keane then popped up to stroke home a dramatic winner three minutes from time.

The World Cup 1994

IRELAND V ITALY
Keane was exceptional at the 1994 World Cup | Simon Bruty/Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland reached the knockout stages of a major tournament for just the second time in their history at the 1994 World Cup. They recorded a famous victory over eventual champions Italy in the group stages, before crashing out on the last 16 to the Netherlands.

Keane was just 22 at the time, but played every minute and was named Ireland's player of the tournament.

The midfielder was naturally delighted with the superb individual display and his country's performance in the USA. Reflecting on the World Cup in his autobiography, Keane wrote: "There was nothing to celebrate. We achieved little."

Moving on then...

Juventus Performance, 1999

Champs League SF Roy Keane
Keane produced a stunning individual performance against Juventus | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Probably Keane's most impressive performance in a Manchester United shirt came in the 1999 Champions League semi final second leg against Juventus.

The Red Devils were 2-0 down and trailing 3-1 on aggregate within 11 minutes, but the Republic of Ireland international grabbed United's first and turned in a momentous display to inspire his side to a 3-2 victory. He pounded across the pitch, covering every blade of grass as United booked their place in the Champions League final.

It was to be bittersweet for Keane, who picked up a booking which meant he was suspended for the final. The Red Devils famously overcame Bayern Munich in the final to secure the treble.

The Saipan Incident, 2002

Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane
The best of friends | Inpho Photography/Getty Images

Just 10 days before their 2002 World Cup campaign was due to kick off, Keane - the Republic of Ireland's talisman - was sent home from their Saipan base after a furious bust up with national team manager Mick McCarthy.

Keane had given an interview to the Irish Times where he was not especially complimentary about the international set up and facilities. McCarthy confronted him and Keane replied with the infamous:

"You’re a f**king w**ker. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager and I don’t rate you as a person. You’re a f**king w**ker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. I’ve got no respect for you. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b****cks."

The iconic incident even has its own Wiki page.

Tunnel Clash With Patrick Vieira, 2005

Patrick Vieira, Roy Keane
Keane and Vieira shared a captivating rivalry | Phil Cole/Getty Images

Things that were legendary in the early 2000s: S Club 7, Tracy Beaker and Manchester United versus Arsenal clashes.

The Gunners and United were constantly jostling at the summit of the Premier League, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson enjoyed an epic rivalry, and when the pair met there were fireworks.

The fixture was personified by the fiery relationship between the two captains - Keane and Vieira - with tempers often flaring on the pitch. And in the tunnel.

In 2005, the pair confronted each other before the game, and the United midfielder unleashed a verbal tirade, with the referee attempting to calm him down with a jaunty "come on, Roy."

Journalist Rant, 2009

Keane's stint in charge of Ipswich Town was hardly littered with quality on the pitch, but he certainly delivered off it.

During a 2009 press conference, the Tractor Boys' boss was in full conversational flow when a journalists' phone went off. At the sound of the second ring, Keane's eyes narrowed. For some inexplicable reason, the journalist opted to let the phone ring out, much to Keane's utter disgust.

"Why don't you put it on silent? Why don't you turn it off?"

All valid questions.

"You're just going to let it ring? Oh right, that's good manners," Keane concluded. If you watch the incident a couple of times and listen really carefully, you might be able to detect a hint of sarcasm.

Picking His Combined Manchester United & Liverpool XI, 2020

Keane has had many highs as a pundit; it's difficult to select a favourite. From his response to Adrian Charles after the ITV host asked the age old question 'when does rain become a down pour?' to his scathing assessment of Aston Villa celebrating staying in the Premier League, there is a smorgasbord of finery to sift through.

However, a particular highlight came in February 2018, when Keane and Jamie Carragher picked their combined XI from Keane's 1999 United treble winning side, and the Liverpool team gunning for the title in 2020.

Carragher was diplomatic, while Keane attempted to shoehorn all 11 of his United friends into the team. Great TV.