Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo WASN'T one of five world-class players Roy Keane played with

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Cristiano Ronaldo WASN’T one of the five world-class players Roy Keane believes he played alongside at Manchester United, in surprise snub for the superstar – but old friend Denis Irwin was handed a special mention!

  • Roy Keane believes he played with just five world-class players at Man United 
  • Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes were all name-dropped 
  • But instead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Keane handed the fifth spot to Denis Irwin 


Roy Keane believes he played alongside just five world-class players at Manchester United, and failed to include Cristiano Ronaldo among them.

Keane won the Premier League seven times at Old Trafford and even captained the club but, in his usual deadpan way, stayed grounded when discussing team-mates.

Speaking after United’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in September 2019, the pundit was questioned over who he believed the best stars he featured alongside were.

Roy Keane didn't include Cristiano Ronaldo (L) on his five-man list of world-class team-mates

Roy Keane didn’t include Cristiano Ronaldo (L) on his five-man list of world-class team-mates

‘We never gave ourselves an opportunity to talk about players being world class,’ Keane said, in response to Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher.

‘But if I look back now, you’d have to class Giggsy [Ryan Giggs].

‘I always class the world-class players as lads who were doing it for nine, ten, 11 years – obviously Giggsy’s done it for a lot longer.

Keane memorably won seven Premier League titles at Old Trafford and also captained United

Keane memorably won seven Premier League titles at Old Trafford and also captained United

The current Sky Sports pundit hailed Ryan Giggs and stressed the importance of consistency

The current Sky Sports pundit hailed Ryan Giggs and stressed the importance of consistency

‘But to me, that’s the key to being a really good player: you’ve got to be consistent.

‘We see players now, they have a good month and patting themselves on the back.

‘You have to be good for years and years, and Giggsy would have been a prime example.’

Mark Hughes was hailed as a ‘brilliant striker’ by Keane and featured next on his list, before Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona were also singled out.

Denis Irwin, an old friend of Keane, also made the shortlist and was labelled a 'brilliant guy'

Denis Irwin, an old friend of Keane, also made the shortlist and was labelled a ‘brilliant guy’

And rather than placing Ronaldo in fifth, Keane instead opted for his old friend and long-standing United full back Denis Irwin, a fellow Corkman. 

‘My god, imagine if Denis Irwin was playing now,’ Keane added.

‘He could play left back, right back, get you a goal, knew how to defend, never injured, a brilliant guy in the dressing room.

‘Denis would be world-class to me – and he’s a Corkman!’

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