‘Roy Keane be damned’: how the pundit became a hate figure in Brazil | World Cup 2022

Brazilian football fans have excoriated Roy Keane after the former Manchester United star derided the country’s national team players’ dance moves during their World Cup last-16 victory over South Korea.

Brazil’s players repeatedly shook their stuff during Tuesday’s 4-1 win with the coach, Tite, even joining in after Richarlison scored the third goal, cavorting like a pigeon in reference to the Tottenham striker’s nickname.

Yet Keane took exception to the continuous dancing after Brazil’s goals. “I don’t mind the first kind of little jig – whatever they’re doing – but they’re still doing it after that, and then the manager getting involved with it,” the Irish commentator grumbled on ITV. “I’m not happy with it, I don’t think it’s very good at all.”

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In Brazil those comments went down like a 7-1 defeat by Germany and transformed Keane into an immediate hate figure for dance-loving football fanatics. “Brazilian football is the embodiment of happiness. Roy Keane be damned,” wrote the sports columnist Julio Gomes, one of many citizens who took exception to the former Ireland midfielder’s remarks.

In an article for the website UOL Esporte, Gomes said Keane’s attack was merely the latest example of arrogant and clueless Europeans getting their knickers in a twist over the delight of others. “They think they are the best at everything and have the right to judge anyone,” Gomes said. “They think they are the masters of what is right and what’s wrong, and that the entire world must follow their behavioural manual.

“Brazilian footballers like to dance when they score. Full stop. Respect it and deal with it. It’s hard to explain an authentic demonstration of happiness to someone who doesn’t know how to express happiness.”

Others offered even blunter critiques and wondered how the man behind the vicious tackle on Alf Inge Haaland in 2001 thought he was in position to lecture others on disrespect. “I think Roy Keane … should get fucked,” the screenwriter Antonio Tabet told his 3.1 million Twitter followers, before adding: “Ireland’s Roy Keane complaining about goal celebrations at a World Cup is like Ronaldinho disapproving of bobsledding at the Winter Olympics.”

There was criticism from the world of football too. Luís Castro, the Portuguese coach of Rio de Janeiro side Botafogo, told the Brazilian channel SportTV: “Roy Keane doesn’t understand Brazilian football culture. He doesn’t understand the Brazilian team.

“We all know that [the dance] isn’t disrespectful to anyone … it just shows real unity between the coach and the players. The world of football shouldn’t worry about this because we’ve become accustomed to Roy Keane’s inelegant and sometimes very arrogant statements.”

One of the Brazil players, Lucas Paquetá, denied his team’s dancing was designed to offend opponents. “We’re celebrating because it’s our moment. We scored a goal and Brazil is celebrating,” he said. “If he [Keane] doesn’t like it, there’s not a lot I can do for him. If we score another goal, we’ll carry on celebrating like this.

Tite told reporters his players were always likely to face disapproval from “ill-disposed” critics but defended their right to boogie. “It’s a show of joy,” the coach said.