Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane lock horns following Fergie’s book launch

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Here we go. Get your popcorn ready.

There was always going to be one big storyline that flared up from Sir Alex Ferguson’s eagerly anticipated book launch, and his fiery relationship with former Manchester United captain Roy Keane is now front and center as Fergie lifted the lid on why his ex-skipper left Old Trafford so abruptly.

Ferguson described Irish midfielder Keane as an ‘intimidating, ferocious individual’ and said he had ‘the most savage tongue you can imagine. He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds.’

The former United midfielder, who played 480 times for the Red Devils and scored 51 goals, berated his United teammates in 2005 on MUTV in an interview never aired publicly. After that, Ferguson cut the chord.

“He needs to go, Carlos. 100 per cent. Get rid of him,” Ferguson said to assistant manager Carlos Queiroz at the time. “In one deep sense, him leaving was the best thing that could have happened… a lot of players were intimidated by him.”

Keane, who Ferguson stood up for throughout many red cards, training ground bust ups and off the field incidents, was also lambasted by Fergie for a confrontation with Ruud van Nistelrooy towards the end of his United career.

“His [Keane’s] eyes started to narrow, almost to wee black beads,” Ferguson said. “It was frightening to watch, and I’m from Glasgow.”

Ferguson also stated that Keane “thought he was Peter Pan” as the sun began to set on his career and injuries hampered his appearances. All of that coupled with Keane’s volatile attitude towards club and country was only going to have one outcome.

And here’s what Keane had to say in response..

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Keane’s rambunctious displays epitomized United’s success for so long… but it often boiled over.

“I’m OK, quite relaxed,” Keane told ITV Sport on Tuesday. “I remember having conversations about loyalty when I was at the club and I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word. To constantly criticize other players that brought him success … I won’t be losing any sleep over it.”

Keane, who has enjoyed stints in charge at Sunderland and Ipswich as a manger since retiring from the game in 2007, believes Frrguson shouldn’t keep releasing books and slating former players.

“I just don’t think the manager needs to do it,” Keane said. “I don’t know how many books he’s written now,” Keane said. “A lot of these players helped win a lot of trophies. It’s just part of modern life. People like to do books and criticize ex-players.”

However, despite all the animosity that obviously now exists between the two, Ferguson praised Keane’s achievements but revealed the swift decision to get rid of Keane was for the best.

“He was a great player for me, a great captain but he overstepped the mark and the right thing was done. We had to cut the strings,” Ferguson said after Keane was shown the door in 2005. “We did honor his playing career by paying up his contract, we honored his testimonial and he did come in and apologize. But he has come out several times over the last few years and really spoiled that.”

We haven’t heard the last of this folks.

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league