• Premier League

Vieira: Keane's right - I'd have taken him in a fight

ESPN staff
October 17, 2014
Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira clash during the 2005 FA Cup final © Getty Images

Patrick Vieira has agreed that he would have beaten Roy Keane in a fight, but admitted he would have taken a battering in the process.

Writing in his autobiography The Second Half, Keane suggested he may have come out second best if he had been drawn into a fight with the towering Vieira.

"I haven't read it, but I have heard a lot about it," Vieira said. "If there was a fight, it would take a long time to beat him and I would end up with a few cuts. I don't think he would give up easily!

"I'm not surprised at all about how honest he has been in the book. That's because the way he wrote the book is the way he was as a player. He's not the kind of person to go halfway. He's either everything or nothing. I think the book is him."

Once bitter enemies as captains of Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, relations have thawed between Keane and Vieira in recent years, with the pair working together as TV pundits and even taking part in a joint documentary looking back on their rivalry.

"We had similar qualities as players," Vieira said. "We were both determined, we wanted to win, and we were both leaders of our teams. That's why I always loved to play against him. We challenged ourselves, we battled, but we always retained respect for each other.

"At that time, Arsenal were building up a great team to challenge United, who were up there already. Maybe United and Roy weren't used to that kind of challenge.

"Our rivalry at that time was more with United than it was with Tottenham. It was good, but I don't miss playing now, because I played for a long time and I couldn't do it any more."

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