Denis Irwin has recalled how Manchester United teammate Jesper Blomqvist hid from Roy Keane for a number of weeks after the Corkman’s infamous yellow card against Juventus in 1999.
Roy Keane put on one of the greatest-ever Champions League performances on April 21, 1999, when United came from behind to secure their place in the final in Barcelona.
Keane was ruled out of the final against Bayern Munich after a first-half yellow card in the semis but the United captain cemented his place in footballing history with an unforgettable display of leadership to ensure that his teammates would get the opportunity to compete for Champions League glory.
One of Roy Keane's finest ever performances. Manchester United vs Juventus, 1999. pic.twitter.com/jaGT2T7G1i
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) April 30, 2020
Keane’s fellow Irishman and United teammate Denis Irwin recalled the legendary performance that Keane pulled out against an imposing Juventus midfield of Edgar Davids, Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane.
“We were two goals down against one of the best teams we played against in that era and he [Keane] pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a fantastic headed goal and then his performance was just fantastic,” Irwin told Planet Football.
“They had an incredible midfield with Davids, Deschamps and Zidane, but Keaney took them all on that night and came out on top. He was just incredible and it was a tragedy that he couldn’t play in the final.”
United’s Swedish midfielder Jesper Blomqvist was terrified that he would be targeted by Keane for his role in the captain’s booking as it was he who misplaced a pass that forced Keane to overreach and foul Zidane.
Irwin remembered that Blomqvist attempted to keep his head down around Keane for a number of weeks out of fear that he would fall victim to the Corkman’s wrath.
“I remember Jesper Blomqvist was trying to avoid Keaney for a few weeks after that semi-final because it was his pass that led to the booking,” Irwin recalled.
“Roy had a word with him on the field at the time, but I think Jesper thought more would come. A lot of the lads were wary of Roy and didn’t want to upset him, so poor Jesper probably feared what was coming to him.”