| 8.9°C Dublin

'Ronaldo sealed United move by turning O'Shea inside out'

CRISTIANO Ronaldo sealed a deal to move to Manchester United by turning John O'Shea inside out in a pre-season friendly and Roy Keane loved every minute of it.

Ronaldo completed a £12.26m move to Old Trafford in 2003 after he starred for Sporting Lisbon in a friendly against Manchester United.

In his new autobiography, Keane has revealed the part played by his fellow Irishman John O'Shea in sealing the deal for the current Ballon d'Or holder.

"We were playing Sporting Lisbon to celebrate the opening of their stadium," Keane said. "I saw how good Ronaldo was that day.

"He was up against John O'Shea. Sheasy ended up seeing the doctor at half time because he was actually having dizzy spells.

"The club concluded negotiations after the game and we always joked with Sheasy he had actually sealed the deal by playing like a f*****g clown.

"In fairness to him, he was jet-lagged (from America) like the rest of us."

Ronaldo was criticised in his early days at United for his individualistic approach and accusations of diving but the former Ireland and Manchester United captain insists that the Portuguese youngster was a model professional during his time at Old Trafford.

"I liked Ronaldo straight away," Keane said. "He had a nice presence about him and a good attitude.

"After watching him train for a few days I thought: "This lad is going to be one of the best players in the world."

"He was seventeen, but he was immediately one of the hardest working players at United.


"He was good looking and he knew it. Looking at some of the other players in front of the mirror I would think: 'You f------ nugget'. But Ronaldo had an innocence to him and a niceness."

Keane also said that Patrick Vieira 'probably would have killed me' if the infamous Highbury tunnel spat between Arsenal and Manchester United in February 2005 had escalated.

Keane said: "If it had come to a fight, Patrick could probably have killed me."

He claims to have been calm and collected prior to the incident but lost the plot when Gary Neville returned to the united dressingroom claiming that Vieira had been shouting at him.

"As I walked to the front I heard something going on at the top of the tunnel," he writes. "All I could see was a few fingers, pointing at Gary. I lost it. Five seconds earlier I'd been perfectly calm, in the zone, ready for the match.

"I'd thought they might have booted him out on the pitch. But in the tunnel? I just thought 'The f******'. They were trying to bully him. They were a big team and, in the tunnel, they were even bigger. So I said to myself 'Alright, let's go'.

United went on to win the Premier League clash 4-2, with neither side punished for the fracas.