Gary Neville and Roy Keane have alleged that certain opponents they encountered while playing for Manchester United in the Champions League were using performance-enhancing drugs. They also suspect that Italian teams may not have always followed fair and legal practices.
Neville and Keane, ex-captains of United, participated in the competition from 1993-94 until 2010 and 2005 respectively.
Neville shared on the Stick To Football podcast: “There are a few instances that stand out to me…I recall facing some teams that weren’t playing fair. We suspected it at the time.”
Neville mentioned cycling and other sports where the use of performance-enhancing drugs has been widespread. He stated that in hindsight, it is clear that these substances were being used by athletes and doctors. At the time, he and his teammates noticed physical changes that seemed abnormal, as they were all in good physical shape and did not engage in heavy drinking. After a match against an Italian team, Neville and some of his teammates in the mid-2000s came to the realization that something was amiss.
Keane agreed, stating that after playing against certain teams, he would feel completely exhausted. He specifically recalled playing against Italian teams and noticing that their players seemed unfazed by the match.