Football News

Veron’s skill shut down Man Utd training – but Roy Keane was his problem, says Rio Ferdinand

By Ben Green

Published: 22:04, 26 March 2020

Rio Ferdinand says Juan Sebastian Veron regularly dazzled in training, but Roy Keane’s “dominant personality” prevented the Argentine from shining in a Manchester United shirt.

Sir Alex Ferguson made Veron the most expensive player in Premier League history when he spent £28.1m to pry the midfielder away from Lazio in 2001.

How did Veron get on at Man Utd? Five things to know…

  • After winning silverware — both domestically and in Europe — for Parma and Lazio, Man Utd spent big on Veron.
  • Ferguson famously spent £28.1m on the Argentine in 2001, breaking the Premier League transfer record.
  • However, Veron would last just two seasons at Old Trafford and was sold at a loss to Chelsea.
  • His stint at Stamford Bridge proved even more detrimental and he left after four years having only made 14 appearances.
  • Ferdinand believes Veron would have been a huge success at Man Utd had the team been built around him.

Despite relocating to Old Trafford with a glittering CV and high expectations, the Argentine failed to justify his price tag and was sold after just two seasons.

Chelsea secured Veron’s services in a cut-price deal, but he experienced similar problems in west London and left after four years having only made 14 appearances.

Veron’s transfers in England have since been branded by some as two of the worst in Premier League history, but Ferdinand believes his former teammate would have been a hit at Old Trafford were it not for Keane.

When asked to pick between Veron and Real Madrid legend Guti, Ferdinand told Instagram Live: “Oh what a good question. Veron or Guti… For the older listeners, older viewers out here, Veron, Sebastian Veron, scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in training.

“The little rabona thing, bang from the halfway line, the whole training session shut down, stopped. ‘Did you just see that, what Juan Sebastian’s just done there?’

“He was an unbelievable player, great passer. The only thing I think that killed him was Roy Keane was probably a bit more of a dominant personality and was picking the ball up in his positions.

“You have to remember Veron came from Lazio, Parma where he was the main man, the whole game went through him. He came to United, that’s what Roy Keane did.

“I think Roy Keane was his problem. And it wasn’t Roy Keane’s fault, it’s just that his personality was bigger and more overpowering.”

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“Absolutely mesmerising” – Ferdinand on Guti

Ferdinand not only reversed a special praise for Veron but also waxed lyrical about former Real Madrid star Guti, highlighting one famous backheel.

In 2009 Guti defied logic to mastermind one of the great assists in modern football, running through one-v-one against Deportivo de La Coruna before a no-look backheel set up Karim Benzema.

Ferdinand added: “If you go on YouTube and type in Guti, he was at Real Madrid for a number of years, and see what that guy was doing.

“Absolutely mesmerising footballer. Crazy skills. The backheel he does, you’ve got to go and get it, go on YouTube, watch Guti’s backheel he does for one of the goals, it’s unbelievable, he sets someone up. What a player.”


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