Spicy quotes from Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography
According to former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson neither Frank Lampard nor Steven Gerrard are elite international footballers. Here's more controversial tidbits from his autobiography ¦
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson launched his new autobiography on Tuesday, in which he looked back on his record-breaking 26-and-a-half-year tenure at Old Trafford.
Here are some of the most revealing extracts from the book, entitled 'My Autobiography', which goes on sale on Thursday.
On former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham:
"David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game."
On his clash with Beckham following an FA Cup defeat by Arsenal in February 2003:
"David swore. I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye."
On a row with former captain Roy Keane after the Irishman criticised several of his team-mates in an interview that was never aired:
"It was frightening to watch. And I'm from Glasgow. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine. He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds with that tongue."
On discussing Keane's outburst with his assistant, Carlos Queiroz:
"'He needs to go, Carlos,' I said. 'One hundred percent,' he said. 'Get rid of him,' I said."
On turning down the England manager's job in 1999 and 2001:
"There was no way I could contemplate that. It wasn't a bed of nails I was ever tempted to lie on."
On Wayne Rooney:
"I felt he struggled more and more to do it for 90 minutes, and he seemed to tire in games. He came into my office the day after we won the league (in 2013) and asked away. He wasn't happy with being left out for some games and subbed in others."
On Chelsea striker Fernando Torres:
"Torres was blessed with great cunning: a shrewdness that was borderline Machiavellian. He had a touch of evil, though not in the physical sense."
On Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard:
"I am one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top player."
On former Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich:
"A terrible professional ... we played down at Wimbledon in February (2000), and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu, eating like a horse."
On Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard:
"I didn't think of him as an elite international footballer."
On Napoli coach Rafa Benitez, previously of Liverpool and Chelsea:
""Soon after Benitez arrived, I attended a Liverpool game and he and his wife invited me in for a drink. So far, so good. But our relationship frayed. The mistake he made was to turn our rivalry personal... I had success on my side."
On managing Manchester United:
"I would sit in my office in the afternoon, with my work complete, wanting company."
On player power:
"In modern football, celebrity status overrides the manager's power. In my day you wouldn't whisper a word about your manager. You would fear certain death. In my later years, I would hear constantly about players using their power against managers, and the player receiving the support of the public and even the club."
Recalling what a un-named senior Inter Milan official told him:
"Do you know the difference between the English and Italians? In England they don't think a game can ever be corrupt. In Italy they don't think a game cannot be corrupt."
On Cristiano Ronaldo:
"Cristiano Ronaldo was the most gifted player I managed."
On watching Ronaldo play for the first time:
"One night I was watching a movie, White Fang, the Jack London book about going down to Klondike in search of gold. That's what it must be like for a scout. You're standing watching a game on a Saturday morning and you see a George Best, a Ryan Giggs or a Bobby Charlton. That's what I felt that day in Lisbon. A revelation. That was the biggest surge of excitement, of anticipation, I experienced in football management."
On an incident with Ruud van Nistelrooy during the 2006 League Cup final:
"We were on cruise control against Wigan and I saw an opportunity to give (Patrice) Evra and (Nemanja) Vidic a taste of the game. They were my final substitutions. I turned to Ruud and said: 'I'm going to give these lads a part of the game.' They were going to get a touch, a smell of winning something with Manchester United. 'You ----,' said Van Nistelrooy. I'll always remember that. Could not believe it ... But that was the end of him."
On Liverpool's decision to wear T-shirts in support of striker Luis Suarez after he was accused of racially abusing United left-back Patrice Evra:
"Liverpool wore those T-shirts supporting Suarez, which was the most ridiculous thing for a club of Liverpool's stature".
On Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:
"He's a likeable person when you get to know him, and he can laugh at himself, turn a joke back on himself. I don't know whether (Arsene) Wenger or Benitez had that capacity."
On former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini's decision to forgive Carlos Tevez for refusing to go on as a substitute in a Champions League game at Bayern Munich:
"Taking him back showed desperation. In terms of his prestige as a manager, he let himself down."
On 'Pizzagate', the row at Old Trafford that followed a defeat by Arsenal in October 2004:
"They say it was Cesc Fabregas who threw the pizza at me but, to this day, I have no idea who the culprit was."