Highlights from Sir Alex Fergusons' 'Leading'

Sept. 22, 2015, 10:21 p.m.


Giggs and Scholes

“The younger breed like Ryan and Scholes were just fantastic players and the thing about those two was longevity. Are there players who have played right through the whole of the Premier League and performed at the level they have? There are none, absolutely none.”


Ronaldo

“The biggest ego came with beautiful vanity, with that fantastic body of his.”


“Ronaldo would stand in the mirror and the others would throw socks and jock straps at him.”


“Ronaldo was just a complete genius of a player.”


The Glazers

“They (The Galzers) did not come barreling in with all guns blazing. Perhaps more importantly, they never said 'no' or refused to do something that I cared about.”


Manchester City and their rise

“There’s no doubt that City’s spending spree and their effort to create an instant history has caused jealousy around the Premier League but I always tried to reinforce the message that, no matter how many players they bought for huge amounts of money, they could only start a game on a Saturday with 11 men.”



Paul Pogba and his agent

“There are one or two football agents I simply do not like. And Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba’s agent, is one of them. I distrusted him from the moment I met him. He became Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent while he was playing for Ajax, and eventually he would end up representing Pogba, who was only 18 years old at the time.”

“We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign. But Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our first meeting was a fiasco. He and I were like oil and water. From then on, our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to ingratiate himself with Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus.”


His replacement

“I had dinner with Pep Guardiola in New York in 2012, but couldn’t make him any direct proposal because retirement was not on my agenda at that point. He had already won an enviable number of trophies with Barcelona… and I admired him greatly. I asked Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club, but he didn’t and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013.”

“When we started the process of looking for my replacement, we established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable. It became apparent that Jose Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea, and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid.”

“We also knew that Jürgen Klopp was happy at Borussia Dortmund and would be signing a new contract. Meantime, Louis van Gaal had undertaken to lead the Dutch attempt to win the 2014 World Cup.”


LVG

“I love his press conferences, they are brilliant. I can see some of the press guys twitching in their seats as he answers some of the questions. He's got the confidence to deal with that.”

“I don't get to training sessions but I love watching the team. He's got experience, he knows how to handle these things, it's going to get time, everyone's different, taking over from myself it's going to take time to get his team on the pitch.”


Giggs's managerial career

“Ryan Giggs is eventually going to be a great manager. He has intelligence, presence and knowledge.”


And

“I did not think it fair that Rooney should earn twice what I made…It was simple. We just agreed that no player should be paid more than me”


“Even my very worst are not in the same postal code as some of the biggest blunders in the PL. Such as £50m that CFC paid for Torres.”


“I was always very careful that my control was not usurped. That explains why I sold players who tried to undermine my control… everyone is disposable.”




On Players he could have signed


Sergio Aguero

“We had a chance to buy Sergio Aguero before he went to Manchester City, but eventually his agent was demanding a price we were not prepared to pay.”


Lucas Moura

“We offered £24 million for him, which was upped to £30 million and again to £35 million, but Paris Saint-Germain signed him for £45 million. (Former chief executive) David (Gill) and I were just not prepared to go to those sorts of levels.”


Didier Drogba

“He was playing for Olympique de Marseilles and we went to check him out. But the club wanted £25 million for him and Chelsea moved in for the kill before we made up our minds.”


Petr Cech

“In 2003 I went to see Petr Cech in goal for Rennes in a game against Auxerre. We thought Petr was a bit young for the bruisers in the Premier League.”


Thomas Muller

“Thomas Muller, who scored five goals for Germany in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was a 10-year-old playing for an amateur team several miles from Munich when we first heard about him. We had him watched and the following day he committed himself to Bayern Munich.”


Raphael Varane

“David Gill was getting into the finer points of the contract with Lens, Varane's club, when Zinedine Zidane got wind of this and somehow scooped him up for Real Madrid from under our noses. I don’t think Jose Mourinho, who was managing Real Madrid, had even seen Varane play.”


Ronaldo

“We wanted to sign (Ronaldo) from Cruzeiro in 1994, but we could not get a work permit.”


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