Football

Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fergie rejected a world-class player in 2006 after only watching him for 45 minutes

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Given he managed Manchester United for 27 years, it comes as no surprise that legendary stories about Sir Alex Ferguson are still being unearthed.

Fergie called time on his managerial career four years ago and yet, in the space of a week, three new tales have been told.

Just last week, former United striker David Bellion recalled a time when the Scotsman ordered a youngster to sell his Bentley after driving it to training.

"Sir Alex made him sell it immediately," Bellion told The Sun. "I drove to Carrington in an Austin Mini for nearly a year even though I had a Mercedes at home.

"Sir Alex didn't like young players getting above themselves. He hated anyone showing their wealth before they had done anything in life or the game."

Classic Fergie. The 75-year-old always sought to keep his players grounded, no matter how much money they were earning at the club.

Former political strategist Alastair Campbell was a confidant of Ferguson's during his reign at United and now he's shared a few little-known stories of his own.

One involves Ruud van Nistelrooy and how the Dutchman sealed his fate at United by making some ill-timed comments to Cristiano Ronaldo after his father had died.

"The United manager (SAF) was not sure what was going to happen with Ruud van Nistelrooy," said Campbell, per the Times. "Very self-centred.

Van Nistelrooy signing

"The last straw was when he told Cristiano Ronaldo he had found a new dad in Carlos [Queiroz, Ferguson's assistant] - just after Ronaldo's dad, who was an alcoholic, had died.

"Carlos asked him to show respect and he said he didn’t respect anyone there. He later apologised but CR was not having it.

"Alex sent van Nistelrooy home when he heard about it later. He was not sure what he was going to do with him."

Campbell's other tale takes us back to 2006, when Sir Alex went to watch a certain Franck Ribery playing for Marseille vs Bolton Wanderers in the UEFA Cup.

Marseille's forward Franck Ribery leaves

The story goes that Fergie needed just 45 minutes to decide Ribery wasn't good enough for United. He came to his conclusion by half-time.

"Alex was watching Franck Ribery, the Marseille winger, but decided by half-time he was not good enough for United," said Campbell, per the Daily Mail.

Ferguson's judgement rarely failed him at United, but passing up the chance to sign Ribery as a promising 23-year-old was a big error on his part.

Ribery joined Bayern Munich a year later in 2007 and quickly developed into a world-class winger, also winning seven Bundesliga titles and the Champions League once. Awkward.

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