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Roy Keane has said he has no regrets over the infamous tackle that injured Alf-Inge Haaland, the former Manchester City player and father of striker Erling Haaland.
Keane told Micah Richards that he did "go to hurt players" but he'd never apologise for that, because other players would regularly try to hurt him. However the Manchester United legend added that he never, ever went out to injure an opponent.
The incident with Alf-Inge Haaland took place in 2001 when Keane was sent off for a brutal, studs-up tackle on the City midfielder. Keane was given an immediate three-match ban, then a further five-match ban when comments in his 2002 autobiography suggested the foul had been a premeditated act of vengeance after Haaland had criticised Keane.
Keane was speaking to Richards as part of their SkyBet Road to Wembley series and the ex-City defender asked the former midfield enforcer if he had any regrets from his playing days.
"Can I tell you something? I have never regretted anything I have done on a football pitch; never," replied Keane, before admitting: "Listen, I have been sent off and I've let my team down."
Richards jumped in to ask about the Haaland challenge and Keane gave his explanation.
"To me, I was in battle with people, I was in the middle of the park," he said.
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Richards suggested that Keane had not meant to injure Haaland and the Irishman wholeheartedly agreed.
"No, no, of course. Did I go to hurt players? Of course I did," he responded.
"I'd never apologise for that. And people went to hurt me. Honestly, I'm not going to give it the old 'poor me' one...
"[But] I never, never ever, went out to injure a player in my life. Did I go 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 then broke the tension by adding: "You're like my shrink," prompting a gale of laughter from Richards as the pair sat alongside each other in a car.
The incident was no laughing matter 20 years ago, however. Haaland eventually retired with injury in 2003 and reportedly considered legal action in the aftermath of Keane's autobiography (although it should be noted that the injury which caused Haaland's retirement was to his left leg, not the right leg Keane connected with).
Nonetheless, the bad blood between Keane and Haaland at the time has been used by some as evidence to suggest that Borussia Dortmund goal machine Erling Haaland would be against signing for Manchester United.
Surely if City fan Richards can apparently show forgiveness, via the gift of his raucous chuckling, the Haalands might be able to as well.
Imagery: PA Images/SkyBet
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