Nemanja Matic has hit back at Manchester United legend Roy Keane for criticism of him last season and believes that Harry Maguire is also unfairly targeted at his former club.
The 34-year-old left United in the summer transfer window after five years at the club and moved to Italian side Roma, where he teamed up with former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho again.
Matic decided to leave English football in order to pursue regular game time, but was criticised by Keane for saying he still had a place in his heart for both United and Chelsea.
"Where's the standards at the club? Where's the desire to keep going, keep going until the end?" the legendary United midfielder asked in April.
"The players, Matic talking about 'I'm leaving, I've had a great time... Man United will always be in my heart, oh and Chelsea as well, by the way, oh and Benfica - don't forget them'. They can't all be in your heart."
The Serbian midfielder insists he has nothing against Keane personally but believes his comments were unnecessary and did not fairly reflect the modern climate of football.
“I have respect for what he has done but he needs to understand that football has changed,” Matic told The Times. “If I played for Chelsea, I cannot say I hate them. I cannot be angry when I’m talking to the press after the game.
“The way he behaved on pitch, 70 per cent of it is a red card today. You cannot throw a punch when all the cameras in the world are there. The real hero is when you go out on the street and say something, but he was always very nice with me, so what he says in public, to be honest, I don’t really care. I know what I’ve done in my career and I’m very happy.”
Matic is not the only United player to receive public criticism from former players and fans, with club captain Maguire a regular target for abuse.
The former Chelsea midfielder also condemned the treatment of the England international and slammed those who hide behind the safety net of social media to dish out abuse.
He added: “What people are doing to him, it is a disaster. Everything has to have limits and some of these people writing on social media, they don’t have their own lives so they just have to write bad things about someone else.”