Roy Keane and Gary Neville have accused some of the clubs they faced at Manchester United of doping – claiming Italian teams had been among them.
The former United captains revealed their suspicions about their Champions League opponents during a podcast discussion about their toughest nights in Europe.
Keane singled out “a couple of Italian teams”, while Neville said there had been one match in the “mid-2000s” where he and other United players had thought, “That’s not right”.
Juventus’ club doctor was given a suspended prison sentence in 2004 after being found guilty of providing a performance-enhancing drug after a trial which examined their medical practises from 1994 to 1998.
Neville and Keane did not point the finger at a particular club, but their manager at the time, Sir Alex Ferguson, has previously said they should have lifted even more European Cups in that period. Keane won the Champions League once with United and Neville twice.
Asked about the club’s toughest nights in Europe, Neville told the Stick to Football podcast: “There are a couple that stick in my mind and I’m going to say this for legal reasons, I think there were a few teams that we played against who weren’t clean. We thought it at the time.”
Keane added: “We played certain teams, I would be walking off and would be absolutely shattered.
“I would be looking at the players I played against, a couple of Italian teams, and they looked like they’ve not even played a match.”
Concluding the discussion, Neville said: “You look back at what came out after in cycling and other sports and doctors and then you think, ‘Hang on?’
“Physically, we were fit, we weren’t drinkers.
“I came off a pitch against an Italian team and thought, ‘That’s not right. That’s not right, I’m sorry’.
“And I know that a couple of the other lads, mid-2000s, thought exactly the same thing.”
Italian football has long been dogged by accusations of doping during the period Neville and Keane played for United.