A MANCHESTER UNITED legend has revealed how a Treble-winning team-mate hid from Roy Keane “after getting him suspended” for the Champions League Final.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side achieved icon status back in 1999 as they clinched the Premier League, FA Cup and the Champions League.
One of the standout displays of that season was in Europe in the semi-final second-leg as they took on a star-studded Juventus team.
A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford made the Italians favourites back on home turf, and two early goals Filippo Inzaghi left United with everything to do.
Captain Keane pulled one back with a header but he found himself receiving a yellow card just 33 minutes into the game – meaning that he would be suspended for the final should they get there.
Despite that personal disappointment, the Republic of Ireland midfielder sucked it up and went on to produce an incredible display as the Red Devils went on to complete an incredible comeback and win 3-2 thanks to strikes from Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.
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That set-up the showdown with Bayern Munich, in which United came from behind again at the death to famously seal the Treble and lift the Champions League trophy due to goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But recalling that night in Turin and Keane’s performance, ex-United left-back Denis Irwin said: “We were two goals down against one of the best teams we played against in that era and he pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a fantastic headed goal and then his performance was just fantastic.
“They had an incredible midfield with Davids, Deschamps and Zidane, but Keaney took them all on that night and came out on top. He was just incredible and it was a tragedy that he couldn’t play in the final.”
However, he also revealed how the winger playing in front of him was left majorly concerned about Keane’s backlash after it was his wayward pass that led to the now Sky Sports pundit’s booking.
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Irwin added: “I remember Jesper Blomqvist was trying to avoid Keaney for a few weeks after that semi-final because it was his pass that led to the booking.
“Roy had a word with him on the field at the time, but I think Jesper thought more would come.
“A lot of the lads were wary of Roy and didn’t want to upset him, so poor Jesper probably feared what was coming to him.”
Irish ace Irwin moved to United in 1990 and was undoubtedly one of Fergie’s greatest signings as he proved a snip at just £625,000 from Oldham.
In 12 years at Old Trafford, he made 296 Premier League appearances and won seven league titles, as well as two FA Cup winner's medals, a League Cup and the Champions league and European Cup Winners' Cup.
He was also an expert at both free-kicks and penalties, and he managed to score 22 league goals for the club throughout that period.
The now 57-year-old, who also won 56 caps for Ireland, left United for Wolves in 2002 and helped them to win promotion to the top-flight via the play-offs.
He retired from playing at the end of the following campaign having made 75 league appearances for the Molineux outfit.
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