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Famed Manchester United Hero-In-Exile Roy Keane has signed with Celtic until 2007, a move that could further signify the end of the Manchester United era. Our soccer expert chimes in with a report:

As far as choice of club, it has a boring air of predictably about it — they were the first club he was linked with when he left Man Utd. He's long been a fan of Celtic and has said more than once that he wanted to end his career there. He's also said that he would find it difficult to play for another club in the same league as Man Utd. He's signed an 18-month contract with Celtic, until June 2007, and according to the chief executive in the press conference this afternoon has "joined for reasons other than money. He will fit in within the existing wage structure here. He's turned down far more lucrative offers than he has here at Celtic." Salary details are supposed to be confidential, but there is speculation that part of his massive pay cut, more than two-thirds, will be alleviated by direct pay from Celtic's major shareholder, Dermot Desmond.


It's a less-sensational move than Real Madrid, with whom he had been speaking to up until Tuesday. But it's more sensible. Real Madrid might have been able to pay him more, but they are a club with many of the characteristics that made him leave Man Utd: underachieving overpaid megastars, an unstable board, a revolving-door manager's office and a general lack of bite. His only concerns at Celtic are how he'll fit into the squad and the manager's plans (the manager angrily denied that he was unsure about the transfer in the press conference, dressing down a reporter and saying that "everyone was delighted" with the move; there was total unity; it wouldn't have happened any other way) and, unfortunately, if fellow Irish Celtic player Neil Lennon's experience is anything to go by, the level of sectarian trouble he'll get from Rangers fans. The next Old Firm derby, in February, should be interesting.

Supporters Welcome Keane Signing [Irish Times]

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