Sir Alex Ferguson explains 'only four world class players' comment

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Sir Alex Ferguson has moved to defend his remarks that he only ever managed four world class players in his time as Manchester United boss.

The legendary manager was quoted as suggesting that Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo were the only players who deserve a place amongst the very best in his 27 years at Old Trafford, during the launch of his latest book, Leading.

His remarks raised more than a few eyebrows amongst Manchester United fans, who pointed to the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez as those who should perhaps be on the Scot's list. 

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Ferguson, who won the Premier League title 13 times during his illustrious reign at Manchester United, insisted that he didn't mean to insult anyone, and said he picked out the four players as the ones who made the most difference.

"That’s the area in which the press have not given it the proper publication, the proper reason for saying this," he told Sirius XM FC.

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"If you look at the time I was at for United for 27 years, I had some fantastic players, some great players. I never said those players were not great, they were fantastic. But in the context in my opinion, it was a qualified opinion, that some players make a difference, and that’s what I judged.

"Eric Cantona, when he came into the club in 1993 he made a difference. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs played for 20 years in the Premier League, that made a difference to us. And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances, he is a world-class player as everyone knows. Him and [Lionel] Messi the two world-class players.


"So I never said any player was rubbish. I said they were all great players. And most importantly, those four players didn’t win the leagues alone, or the cups alone, It was the squad who won the cups, all the teams, they did that perfectly, and I was so proud of them."

Ferguson also revealed his decision to pick out the likes of Ronaldo and Cantona was because he was naturally attracted to attacking players, which explains why there weren't any defenders amongst his choices.

"I think the general consensus of what great players are, usually falls on the mantle of the creative players who win games. And that’s where the take on those four players come into it, no criticism of any of my players, because you couldn’t criticise those players, they were fantastic."

Manchester United would dearly love any of Ferguson's four on the pitch today as they take on rivals Arsenal. Three points will take Louis van Gaal's side back to the top of the table.

Do you agree with Sir Alex Ferguson about the world class players he's managed?

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Premier League
Alex Ferguson
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