Date: 7th May 2006 at 12:01pm
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They left on poor terms, but still Sir Alex Ferguson hails Roy Keane as the best player he ever had at Manchester United.

The Irishman returns for his Testimonial this week, and Sir Alex took the chance to give his ex-skipper the best welcome he could have hoped for.

Ferguson: ‘Taking everything into consideration, Roy Keane is the best player I have ever had at this club. He was not as talented as Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, nowhere near it.

‘But you come across these once-in-a-lifetime people who have this desire which comes from the heart.

‘Roy’s obsession with winning and the demands he put on other players made him the most influential player in the dressing room and a great captain.

‘A few days ago I was asked to pick my all-time best top 16 Manchester United players. I would have rather picked 20 because there was less risk of embarrassing myself.

‘But when time ticks on, decades from now, the name of Roy Keane will stand alongside those of Bryan Robson, Duncan Edwards and Paul Scholes as among the very best Manchester United have ever seen.’