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Young Roy Keane’s reaction after Diego Maradona proclaimed him “the future”

Roy Keane

Diego Maradona will go down as one of the greatest footballers of all time and he had an eye for talent to go along with his ability to play the game.

For footballers growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, endorsements didn’t come greater than those from Diego Maradona, who had won the World Cup in 1986 and continued to astonish with his skill at club level.

Maradona didn’t have much experience dealing with Irish players but he was a big fan of Roy Keane and proclaimed the midfielder “the future” after watching his performance for the Republic of Ireland against Spain 28 years ago.

Roy Keane, who was in what would end up being his final season with Nottingham Forest, was linked with a number of high-profile clubs at the time and he did his best to play down his reaction to the compliment from the Argentina legend.

“Nah, I just don’t take any notice of it, you know,” Keane said.

“Just concentrate playing week in, week out for Forest trying to play well — simple as that.”

Keane gave little away on his future plans amid interest from Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Roy Keane

The Corkman would ultimately sign for Manchester United and go on to become one of the club’s greatest-ever players but he was tight-lipped on any potential move at that stage of his career.

He said: “The position is simple: I’m on a contract for another season and a half. And I’ve discussed a new contract at Forest.

“And you know, if I get the right deal, I’m prepared to stay because, to me, this is the best club in England.

“Best coaching staff, best manager and I’m still learning my trade. I’m only 21, and I have a lot to learn.

“I can’t think of learning in any better place than under Brian Clough.”

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