Keane & Vieira: Best of Enemies

Two great leaders, two men who would give everything to win and two captains who shared a mutual hatred of each other on the pitch, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira come face-to-face once again in a new documentary, “Keane & Vieira: Best of Enemies,” which is being broadcast on British channel ITV4. The hour-long production recalls arguably the greatest individual football rivalry in Premier League history with both players sharing their views on their infamous battles, while also discussing the defining moments of their respective careers.

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Locking eyes over a table in an otherwise unfurnished room, there is a clear and admirable mutual respect between the midfield duo, but that special, inimitable bite still remains. Keane is happy to remind Vieira of the Frenchman’s misplaced pass that led to Ryan Giggs’ spectacular solo goal in the 1999 FA Cup semifinal replay, while Vieira is particularly sententious of Arsenal’s capture of the Premier League title in Keane’s own back yard three years later.

The pair evoke memories of a time when the rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal was at its most hostile, recalling what was said at the notorious Highbury tunnel incident in February 2005, Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s last-minute penalty miss in the so-called “Battle of Old Trafford” in September 2003, which led to four Arsenal players being banned and the club receiving a record 175,000 pound fine, and Vieira’s last ever kick in the red-and-white jersey to beat Manchester United and lift the FA Cup in May 2005. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both find some common ground to agree that the two English sides are too nice to each other these days.

Laughing at photographs of their feisty clashes and their youthful appearances from their early careers, Keane and Vieira also attempt to select their ultimate Manchester United and Arsenal XI, albeit with some disagreement and comical debate.

Read the entire article by ESPNFC’s Max Bentley.

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