Pep Guardiola has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson may have made a mistake that prevented the former Barcelona manager becoming his successor.
Guardiola is set to face Manchester United on Sunday - but he was incredibly close to being in the Old Trafford dugout long-term.
That seat is now taken by Jose Mourinho, of course, arguably Guardiola's nearest rival in world football.
It was no secret that Ferguson didn't believe Mourinho was his natural successor, however, and instead wanted Guardiola, even going as far as meeting with him during the now-Manchester City manager's sabbatical from football.
Guardiola had taken the break after an incredibly high-pressure tenure with Barcelona, and Ferguson used the opportunity to meet him in December 2012.
That was six months into Pep's time off - and six months before Ferguson would retire and pick David Moyes as his successor.
But things were so close to going the way Ferguson wanted - if only he'd been that little bit clearer.
“My English in that period was not as good as it is right now - and so maybe I just didn't understand what Sir Alex said,” said Guardiola. “We met in a magnificent restaurant for dinner and I think he has said he suggested to me something about going to Old Trafford.
“But I really don’t remember that! We spoke about life, about football, about the Premier League. But there was no message sent to me under the table about United. I think I would remember that!"
Ferguson confirmed that was the case in his book, Leading, and was perhaps overeager - Guardiola certainly feels he didn't get his point across for one particular reason.
“It was just two friends, two colleagues in football, talking about many things. But what I do remember is that Sir Alex spoke really fast and it was difficult to understand him! But it was nice because he chose an amazing restaurant – and of course he paid!”
It's certainly amazing to think how close the move was - a move that would have changed world football.
Guardiola would instead agree to join Bayern Munich shortly after but again was close to heading to Manchester - only this time to his current team.
“Bayern Munich were the first club to call me, and then Manchester City, but I had already decided to try to prove myself in Germany and live that experience,” he said. “After that, from almost the day I arrived [at Bayern], Manchester City asked me again and I said that if I went to the Premier League I would go to them."
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