Roy Keane epitomised the term ‘no nonsense’ during his fantastic playing career and one iconic Champions League moment possibly summed up him up best.
The midfielder’s captaincy came during a period of dominance for Manchester United as he won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a famous Champions League triumph back in 1999.
His unrivalled determination to win was instrumental in Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominant side as he built one of the greatest teams in history, which won the treble in 1999.
Gary Neville, who also played a big part in that team, has previously said Keane is the greatest captain the Premier League has seen – and there’s few players who can challenge that claim.
For one reason or another, though, there aren’t many players like Keane in today’s game.
Luckily for us we still get to see snippets of the great man on the telly.
His view on the modern day game often has us in stitches, with hairstyles, shirt-swapping and over the top celebrations usually bearing the brunt of anger from the iconic Irishman.
But as his side battle Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid for a place in the Champions League quarter-final, it’s only right to revisit a moment that summed up Keane’s personality in a nutshell which involved the current Atleti manager himself.
In the quarter-final second leg against Inter, which United went into with a 2-0 lead, the Irishman led his teammates out to shake hands with their rivals before kick-off.
But Keane did not shake hands with two opponents – Ronaldo and Simeone.
Why? Because they were doing up their socks when Keane reached them and the skipper was in no time to wait.
He simply ignored their mind games and readied himself for war that night at the San Siro – Ronaldo was afforded a pat on the back, however, as he walked past him.
In the game, Paul Scholes cancelled out Nicola Ventola’s goal, meaning United reached the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-1 aggregate win and set up a meeting with Juventus.
United went onto win the competition and complete the treble to seal the greatest season in their history.
Keane didn’t play in the dramatic win over Bayern Munich in the final.
He picked up a yellow card in the semi-final second leg 3-2 victory over Juventus and was ruled out with a suspension as a result.
Sir Alex was full of praise for his captain for his display against Juventus.
“It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field,” he wrote in his autobiography.
“Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him.
“I felt such an honour to be associated with such a player.”
Keane, though, was less than impressed with his former manager’s words in later years and after his bitter exit from the club in 2005.
Discussing that extract from Ferguson’s book, Keane said: “Stuff like that almost insults me.
“What am I supposed to do? Give up? Not cover every blade of grass? Not do my best for my teammates? Not do my best for my club?
“I actually get offended when people throw quotes like that at me, as if I’m supposed to be honoured by it. It’s like praising the postman for delivering your letters. He’s supposed to, isn’t he? That’s his job.”
We’re yet to see another player as brilliantly intense as Keane.
Perhaps we never will again – so we must treasure these stories forever.