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Roy Keane hits out at players over ‘One Love’ armband as he gives Cristiano Ronaldo verdict

In passionate comments delivered in his role as an ITV Sport pundit, Keane suggested players should ignore the threat of a yellow card and wear the armband

Roy Keane has been an outspoken critic of the decision to host the World Cup in Qatar. Photo: Getty Images© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Roy Keane has hit out at World Cup players for refusing to stand up to FIFA and the Qatari organisers over the ban on the 'One Love' armband.

In passionate comments delivered in his role as an ITV Sport pundit, Keane suggested players should ignore the threat of a yellow card and wear the armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Homosexuality is banned in Qatar, with several European nations keen to highlight the inequality by wearing the rainbow armband.

Yet FIFA have warned that national team captains will face the prospect of being booked if they take to the field wearing the armband, inspiring a climb down from national associations.

Now Keane has hit out at the players for stepping away from making a stand against FIFA, as he insisted the players should take their punishment and support the 'One Love' campaign.

"I think they can still do a lot more," said Keane. "They say they have been silenced, by who?

"The most important people in football are supporters and the players. Use your voice. Wear the armband.

"Stand up, leadership is about action, go and do it. It's a gesture and it is a start but they can do more."

German Football Federation (DFB) President Bernd Neuendorf, left, talks to German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, right, wearing the One Love armband on the tribune prior to the World Cup group E soccer match between Germany and Japan, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)© AP/PA Images

Keane also gave his verdict on Manchester United's decision to terminate Cristiano Ronaldo's contract, after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan saw him criticise the club's owners and manager Erik ten Hag.

"It has been on cards for the last few months," reflected Keane. "The interview was the tipping point. That's it, Manchester United is a great club and Ronaldo is a great player. It is like a divorce the end of a relationship. We all know how that feels.

"He should have left in the summer, the new manager was never going to play him. You cannot have Ronaldo as a fringe player, it is just not right. It's sad, but these things happen."

Keane went on to criticise United manager Ten Hag as he said his handling of Ronaldo was 'not great'.

"You do have to treat the top players differently," he added. "I don’t want to go down the road again about pressing. Ronaldo did not come back to the club to do that, he came back to score goals.

"Let him go in the summer before it all got really messy. It's better for the club and the player because you don't want it running into the second half of the season.

"Ronaldo has run out of patience there. I think it is really straightforward. People say his reputation at United tarnished. Far from it. United fans aren’t daft. Ronaldo will go down as one of the greatest players.

"It has not ended well, but that’s life. I think he will be delighted to be among the Portuguese squad and show its qualities."

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