“I don’t remember what happened next.”
Gabriel Heinze has claimed that Roy Keane knocked him out during a furious dressing room row. Heinze and Keane played together at Manchester United for one full season. Keane later said he liked the Argentine. However, on one occasion, Heinze got on the wrong side of the former Man United captain.
Gabriel Heinze on his run-in with Keane.
“We lost a game and I went in the dressing room first and Roy Keane was second,” Heinze said during an interview in Argentina.
“I liked to go first after the game, I didn’t want to speak to anyone as we lost and I didn’t understand English, just the bad words.
“I heard my name and ‘f*** off’ by Roy Keane, the best player.
“I knew that was bad so I stood up to him, this idol of Manchester, this great guy who everyone loved. And I replied: ‘F*** off, you’. I don’t remember what happened next.”
Heinze was asked if Keane knocked him out. He replied: “Yes, yes.”
Keane on Heinze.
Despite that incident, Keane spoke well of Heinze in his second autobiography. The Irishman said he was a ‘good guy’ but a ‘nasty f*****’ in training.
Heinze once left Keane ‘in agony’ when they clashed during a training game.
“I picked up an injury one day. A lot of it was my own fault,” the former Man United captain said.
“It was a Friday. We were playing Spurs at home the next day, and we’d always have light training the day before a home game. But it got a bit nasty and it ended up with myself and Gabby having a few tackles on each other.
“He kneed me on the side of my leg and, being the hero that I am, I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to go in for treatment. But I was in agony. I left the house the next day, limping. I said to my wife, ‘Well, I won’t be able to play. I’ll just go in and tell them’. I got to Old Trafford and limped – literally – to the dressing room. I got a few painkillers and played.
“My wife said it was the funniest thing, hearing my name being announced on the radio, after she’d seen me limping out of the house that morning. But I liked Heinze.”
Heinze at Man United.
Gabriel Heinze joined Man United from Paris Saint-Germain in 2004. The Argentine left-back was initially a fan favourite at Old Trafford and was voted the club’s player of the season in his first campaign at the club.
However, he only played six times the following season after suffering a cruciate injury. By the time Heinze returned to full fitness, Patrice Evra was Man United’s first-choice left-back.
At the end of the 2006/07 season, Heinze wanted to leave Man United and wanted to join the club’s bitter rivals, Liverpool.
However, Alex Ferguson – who described Heinze an ‘absolute winner’ but ‘ruthless’ and ‘someone who would kick his granny’ – blocked the move.
The Argentine had to settle for a transfer to Real Madrid instead.
Read next – Alex Ferguson on how his first attempt to replace Peter Schmeichel at Man United went wrong.
(Originally published on September 24, 2020).