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Roy Keane challenged to a fight as fierce football rivalry renewed


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Jason McAteer has challenged Roy Keane to a boxing match amid their fierce dislike of each other.

The duo memorably clashed all the way back in 2002 during a match between Sunderland and Manchester United.

Keane was sent off for elbowing his former team-mate, with the 52-year-old recently saying McAteer ‘deserved’ it.

The former Republic of Ireland skipper also insisted he shouldn’t have received his marching orders.

Boxing news Roy Keane Jason McAteer

Boxing news: Roy Keane and Jason McAteer clashed all the way back in 2002


McAteer furiously hit back on X, dubbing the Sky Sports pundit ‘a clown’ and telling him to ‘bore off’.

And now, speaking to beIN SPORTS, the ex-Sunderland star has challenged Keane to a boxing match.

“We’re elite athletes, we’re sportsmen, and we do things to win at all costs,” he said.

“Every sportsman at the top – cricketers call it sledging, basketball players do it, hockey players do it, American footballers – they call it trash talk.

“I knew what buttons to press that day, and I knew if we were going to win a game, my battle against Roy Keane, one of the greatest players, was to get in his head.

“And I knew I could get in his head.

“We clashed in the middle of the park, his book had just come out – and again, he was derogatory.

“I was a little bit sad about what he said, he told me about what he was going to do to me in the clash and I said to him ‘put it in your next book.'”

Addressing the elbowing incident at the Stadium of Light 21 years ago, McAteer continued: “The world’s seen him elbow me.

“To say that he didn’t do it, it’s wrong, but to say I deserved it. It’s salt.”

McAteer then proceeded to send a message to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

“I’d rather him come in here now and he just, let bygones be bygones, let’s just be civil,” he added.

“Or we can get in the ring for £1m each and fight it out.

“Eddie, if you’re watching. Eddie Hearn, get him on the phone.

“Roy, come on, you’re better than that. And I’ll stop reacting.”

Keane burned his bridges with many of his Republic of Ireland team-mates when he left their training camp shortly before the 2002 World Cup.

The United legend was unhappy with the conditions of the camp, the food on offer and the travel arrangements that had been made.

Keane has no regrets, however, and recently took aim at former manager Mick McCarthy.

“The hangups I had with Ireland had gone on for many years about the way we prepared for games,” he said.

“The frustration from me came to our approach to matches, our training gear, and it came to a head.


Boxing news Roy Keane Jason McAteer

Boxing news: Roy Keane and Jason McAteer were team-mates for the Republic of Ireland


“The tipping point was the 2002 World Cup. I showed my frustration, but that doesn’t mean to say I wouldn’t turn up and do the business in a game. People missed the point with me leaving the World Cup.

“There’s always been question marks about my commitment to playing for Ireland from the media – I missed one game.

“The manager felt he wanted to bring that game up in front of a group of players.”

He added: “Mick McCarthy was very much in bed with the Irish media – which is another story.

“Mick also questioned me then – I’d been asked by a reporter if I respected Mick, and I said no, I didn’t.”

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Written by: radioroxi

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