Former Manchester United captains Roy Keane and Gary Neville have stated their belief that some of their Champions League opponents in the mid-2000s were doping.
Following that season and throughout the 2000s, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side went through one of their most dominant spells domestically. They won six of the next 10 Premier League titles after The Treble winning season.
However, it was not until 2008 when Ferguson won the club’s third Champions League trophy. United suffered some tough defeats in the nine years between the two triumphs, including a semi-final loss against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.
Asked about the club’s toughest nights in Europe, Neville recalled on the Stick to Football podcast: “There are a couple which sticks in my mind, I am going to say this for legal reasons, I think there were a few teams we played against who weren’t clean. We thought it at the time.”
In agreement, Keane added: “We played against certain teams where I would be walking off and would be absolutely shattered, and I would be looking at who I have been playing against, a couple of Italian teams, and they looked like they hadn’t even played a match. Why can’t we talk about that?”
Neville explained: “You can’t accuse people…” To which Jamie Carragher joked: “You just have!”
“My point is when you look back at what came out after in cycling and other sports with doctors, you do think. We thought it at the time that there were things,” Neville stated.
“Physically, we were fit, we weren’t drinkers [but] that’s not right, there is something not right. I came off the pitch, and I thought, that’s not right, that’s not right. I’m sorry.
“I know that a couple of the other lads in the mid-2000s thought exactly the same thing. But there are no excuses.”
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