'I shouldn't have been asking anyway' - Roy Keane on shirt swap he regretted
"I was polite enough"
Back in 2019, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson revealed Roy Keane had been the influencing factor in his decision not to swap shirts with Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
"Roy Keane told me when I was at Sunderland that if you ask for someone’s shirt, it looks like you are in awe of them," Henderson revealed.
One wonders, then, what Henderson would make of Keane telling Gary Neville, on The Overlap, that he twice swapped jerseys after games. Well, he had one successful swap and one snub. It was the snub that probably stung for quite a while.
Over the course of a fascinating hour-long walk and talk with his former Manchester United teammate, Keane touched on interactions with supporters, other sports stars he might like to grab a picture with, and shirt-swapping.
Keane says the one sporting legend he would have liked a photo with was Muhammad Ali but he was content with giving the former world heavyweight champion his space after an award ceremony held by the BBC.
"I've asked one player to swap a jersey, which I regret," he told Neville.
"I played Germany, with Ireland, before the 1994 World Cup. We played Germany in a friendly and had beaten them [1-0], to be fair, and we were walking off. I was being polite... it was their sweeper, Matthias Sammer.
"He went, 'No'. And I was like **** **** anyway. But that was it. I was thinking, 'I shouldn't be asking anyway'. It was honestly just in a polite way. It was not that I really wanted his jersey. If I really wanted a jersey, it would probably be Zidane."
Sammer was well established in the Germany side by the summer of 1994. He had begun his club career with Dynamo Dresden and had played 23 times for East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell, in 1989, and the country unified. He won the Ballon d'Or in 1996, the same year he won a European Championship with Germany.
A few years after that Sammer snub, Keane did get the one jersey swap he coveted. In the end, he says it was more of a post-match nod between himself and the French legend that saw them exchange tops.
"Zidane," he told Neville. "I remember we played him at United and he was obviously a brilliant player.
"After a game against Madrid, we were walking up [the tunnel]. And sometimes you just look at a player... I was looking at him, and him at me. I was thinking, 'He'll probably ask me!'
"No, we just looked at each other and swapped. We did it and I'm glad. Every other time, I'd think, 'Just leave it'."
If you were to have a jersey from any player from that 1990-2010 stretch, Zinedine Zidane would be the one to get. The other one we would have figured he might have been keen on would be another former Juventus midfielder, Pavel Nedved. Juve fans lovingly referred to him as 'Warrior of the World'.
The full Keane chat with Neville is certainly worth a look and listen: