ROY Keane has joked that a poor performance from the unwell John O’Shea helped seal Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United.
The ex-Sunderland boss claims that the current Black Cats’ skipper made Ronaldo looked so much like a world-beater when he defended against him in a Man United friendly against Sporting Lisbon, that that proved to be the clincher for Sir Alex Ferguson £12m signing of the Portuguese prodigy.
Keane’s claim is made in his new autobiography, due to be released this week..
Advance publicity has focused on explosive criticism of key Manchester United figures like Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlos Queiroz and Peter Schmeichel.
But the book also has lighter touches, such as the O’Shea anecdote as Keane looks back on a pivotal pre-season friendly in 2003.
Keane reveals: “We were playing Sporting Lisbon to celebrate the opening of their stadium. 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 clown!”
Keane also mentions former Sunderland player Clive Clarke in his book.
He admits that for a moment he felt glad when he heard the Black Cats’ defender, on-loan at Leicester City, had suffered a dressing room heart attack in the game because it would distract from Sunderland’s awful cup defeat to Luton Town the same night.
Keane, who once joked that he was surprised to hear Clarke had a heart at all, given the way he played, concedes it was an “evil thought’ to think of the full-back’s illness as a benefit to Sunderland’s predicament.
“I had the evil thought: “I’m glad he had it tonight, because it would deflect from our woeful performance.”
He added that sometimes he could forget that he: “wasn’t the only person with parents and children.”