Carragher and Keane clash over 'panic signing' Cristiano Ronaldo

‘He was never going to win them the title!’: Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane clash over ‘panic signing’ Cristiano Ronaldo, the ‘madness’ of Gary Neville – and why Pep Guardiola could surpass Sir Alex Ferguson to become the best Premier League manager EVER

  • Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane went head-to-head big Premier League topics
  • Duo discussed the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United this term
  • They also disagreed on whether Pep Guardiola could usurp Sir Alex Ferguson
  • But the pair did shared laughs and agreed on the ‘madness’ of Gary Neville 
  • Liverpool host Manchester United in a crunch Premier League tie on Tuesday 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has proved a mixed bag, so it was no surprise to see Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane disagree over his impact at Old Trafford this term.

Ronaldo returned to the club last summer to much fanfare 12 years after departing for Real Madrid but ahead of Liverpool and United’s clash in the Premier League on Tuesday, Jamie Carragher believes United made a mistake signing the Portuguese star.

Speaking with Keane in a face-to-face discussion from LADBible, Carragher claimed part of the error was due to Ronaldo not being enough to push United into a Premier League title fight, with the Red Devils down in fifth this term and 20 points off the summit off rivals Manchester City who are battling with Liverpool to become champions.

Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane faced off ahead of Liverpool vs Manchester United

The duo disagreed on a vast range of topics ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash

‘I’m thinking, this is Man United. Man United should be buying someone who’s 27, not 37. Who’s the next Ronaldo?’ Carragher said.

‘And it just smacked of where the club was, of this big fanfare of Ronaldo’s back, all this excitement. Really, everyone knew it wasn’t going to… I always felt it was never gonna push them any closer to the title.

‘He’d finished second the year before. And having watched Ronaldo, I still think, if you’re judging all United’s outfield players, he’s still been one of the best, if not the best.

‘Cause he’s the one who’s had four or five moments this season where you go “Wow.” For Ronaldo to be playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world at 37, and still having an impact, it’s unbelievable. But for Man United to buy Ronaldo, I just thought it was a joke. 

‘It was either a panic ’cause they thought City were going to get him, whether they were kidded by this thing of getting Ronaldo back and everyone was excited. The social media, all the fans in the first game. I thought it was a bit embarrassing.’ 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact at Manchester United was one of the topics under discussion

Carragher believes signing Ronaldo has not pushed United any closer to the league title 

Keane though believes United made the correct call at the time in re-signing the fan favourite, claiming he has not been helped by the unsettled nature of the United squad this term.

‘I still think it was worth the gamble,’ Keane countered’. At the bigger picture, you’re looking it’s not a great signing because of his age and listen, whatever. But I still think he can bring something to the party, and I think he has.

‘But I think whatever’s gone on around him hasn’t been good enough. But I still think Ronaldo could also probably still show more better leadership skills. I know he’s been upset once or twice when he was left out. He clearly wasn’t gonna play in all the games. But he’s still showing moments, Jamie. He’s still showing moments.

‘Obviously, listen, the Tottenham game [where he scored a hat-trick]. Some of the European games. But I think it was worth the gamble.’ 

The two rivals also disagreed on whether Pep Guardiola could surpass Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest Premier League manager of all time.

There was much hype among United supporters when Ronaldo rejoined the club last summer

Ronaldo netted a superb hat-trick when United defeated Tottenham at Old Trafford

Roy Keane believes signing Ronaldo was a worthy gamble to take for United last summer

However it was former Liverpool star Carragher who believes the legendary Manchester United boss is untouchable.

‘The only thing I would say on Pep Guardiola, is I think he’s amazing,’ Carragher said. ‘He will have the most trophies. He will finish his career as the most successful manager in the history of football. He’ll have done it in different countries.

‘The reason why I would still go with Sir Alex Ferguson, is it’s not just to do with the Premier League, but there’s certain managers, and Jose’s one, I think Klopp’s one. It’s the one thing Pep hasn’t done, is almost win with an inferior team, or maybe when you’re up against the odds. That’s the only thing.

‘Now managing the great players, managing the great teams is obviously a skill in itself. But I think of what sort of Jose winning the Champions League with Porto. Or Sir Alex Ferguson, what he did with Aberdeen. Klopp, what he did with sort of Dortmund.

‘I’m not saying all these managers are better than Pep Guardiola, but in terms of Alex Ferguson, how long he was in the Premier League, where Manchester United were when he came in, you know, to be the guy who won that first title and then keep it going, I’d still have Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Pep Guardiola.’

Manchester City boss Guardiola’s Premier League legacy was also up for debate

Carragher believes Sir Alex Ferguson can not be surpassed by Guardiola as the greatest

Keane though believes, Guardiola has simply been smart in working with the best players and doesn’t need to prove his worth at a lower level.

The former United captain added: ‘I think there was a stat where Pep, if he wins the league this year, has he won 10 of the last 13 league titles? Which is amazing, my goodness. And I know there’s an argument he’s always… But I think that’s ’cause he’s clever. He’s not gone to a team that… And people go, “Well he’s always had money to spend. “He’s always had the best players.”

‘That’s ’cause he’s switched on. He’s thinking “Yeah, I wanna work with the best.” Even go back to Barcelona, he first got in there with the reserves, then he’s working with the firsts. As you said, he’d still have to win. And people go “Well he’s at Barcelona, it’s easy to win.” A lot of Barcelona managers haven’t won that much. Loads have been sacked. So he’s managed that group even well. And of course, he’s clever going to Bayern. And Man City.’  

Alex Ferguson famously won the European Cup-winners’ Cup with Aberdeen in 1983

Carragher though believes Guardiola lacks the underdog achievements in his career to stand out ahead of Ferguson, such as Jose Mourinho winning the Champions League with Porto (left) and Jurgen Klopp beating Bayern Munich to the title with Borussia Dortmund 

However, the duo did admit that Keane’s former United team-mate and Carragher’s fellow Sky colleague Gary Neville talks too much, with both admiring the former England defender’s multi-tasking skills.

‘I’ve never met anyone like Gary Neville’, Carragher said. ‘In terms of, he just feels like he’s got a million things going on at once. And I never even mentioned this to him, but we’ve been busy, we’re on the pitch at four o’clock, so we do our thing, so it’s 10 past four. The game’s kicking off at 4:30. We’ve then got to get up [to the gantry].

‘So we’re getting up through the different lifts. We get down, we’ve got to sort our head set on, and mics. So we’ve probably got two or three minutes. And he’s got his laptop up. And I’m thinking he’s going on the stat pack.

‘So I’ve just looked what he’s doing, it’s his email. And he’s sending an email over his hotel. And I’m thinking, “This game’s kicking off in like, two or three minutes.” And it’s something at the top saying Michael, there’s something to do with his hotel, Saint Michaels or something he’s got in Manchester, and he’s reading this email and I’m thinking, “What is going on!?”

Carragher and Neville are pundits and commentators on Sky TV for Premier League games

Keane also played with Neville during their time together at Manchester United

Keane added: ‘That would annoy me, ’cause you’re thinking, it’s five, 10 minutes, this is our priority, the game. But he does multi-task, and I see him, for all his roles, whether it be with Salford, the hotels, Sky.

‘To me, one of them jobs is your only job. But he’s got loads going on. And whether he’s missing something upstairs… He’s lacking something, obviously. I think there’s a bit of madness to Gary. I admire him, where he gets his energy from.’

Adding on how Neville was in the changing room, Keane said: ‘Gary never said a word! We’re all chatting and Gary would turn to you and go, “Yeah, you be quiet, yeah, yeah. “You’re a fullback, stay in your lane.”

‘No, no, it’s amazing how he’s changed. I don’t know what’s happened to him. But part of me admires him, because I’m thinking, he’s doing all these big jobs. But he’ll crash and burn.’ 

SPORTbible and Sky Bet’s ‘Agree to Disagree’ is available on LADbible TV on YouTube. 

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