Gary Neville and Roy Keane revealed that they suspected some ‘Italian teams’ of not being ‘clean’ when his Manchester United side faced them in the early 2000s.
The duo were appearing on the Stick To Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, alongside fellow co-hosts Jamie Carragher and Ian Wright in which the pundits discuss the game, both past and present.
In a recent episode, Neville began to talk about encounters with Serie A sides from the past when in his United days, opening up on suspicions he held at the time.
The former England defender suggested that he and a few of his team-mates at the time had left the field after games suspicious that there was ‘something not right’.
‘There’s a couple that stick in my mind and I think there were a few teams we played against that weren’t clean,’ said Neville. ‘We thought it at the time.’
Gary Neville claimed that he felt a team he played against in the 2000s featured players that ‘weren’t clean’
Roy Keane indicated that he felt players leaving the pitch looked like ‘they’ve not even played a match’
Keane and Neville faced three different Italian teams in the Champions League while playing together
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Wright then asked whether it was because they suspected opposition players were ‘pumped up’, before Carragher suggested it ‘must be’ sides from Serie A.
‘I remember me and Giggsy in the early 2000s. You know something, we were fit, and I thought…’ Neville continued.
Then-captain Roy Keane interjected, and added that he had also noticed something, claiming that opponents looked as if ‘they’ve not even played a match’ after 90 minutes of action.
‘We played certain teams and I’d be walking off and I’d be absolutely shattered,’ the former Irish international said.
‘I’d be looking at players I’d played against, a couple of Italian teams, and they looked like they’ve not even played a match! But why can’t we talk about that?’
Neville continued: ‘We’re not naming clubs, but I think when you look back now at what came out in cycling and other sports and doctors… We thought at the time that, physically – we were fit.
‘We weren’t drinkers, we were fit… but that’s not right. There’s something not right. I came off the pitch against an Italian team, and thought “that’s not right”, and I know that a couple of the other lads in the mid 2000s thought exactly the same thing.’
Man United duo were part of the 1999 Champions League winning team that sealed a Treble
During the time that both Neville and Keane were at Manchester United, they faced a number of Italian teams in European competitions.
In the 2000s. United were drawn against Juventus (four times), Inter Milan (once), AC Milan (three times), Roma (three times), Fiorentina (once) and a UEFA Super Cup clash with Lazio in 1999-2000.
Gary Neville was speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet.