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David de Gea..

David de Gea's performance v Barcelona just days before Ferguson scouted him

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David de Gea blew everybody away with his performance against Arsenal at the weekend, strengthening his growing claim as the world's best goalkeeper.

Jose Mourinho's lethal counterattacking tactics were made possible by the Spaniard's relentless shot stopping with De Gea fighting his way to a Premier League record of 14 saves in a single match.

It was a performance so brilliant that it prompted ex-Manchester United goalkeeper coach Eric Steele to reveal the story behind Sir Alex Ferguson's pursuit of the 27-year-old.

Steele told the Daily Mail: "I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea,” Steele revealed.

"I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup.  

"Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies."

You know you're good when Ferguson misses a United game just to see you.

And, DVD compilations aside, one of the reasons behind Ferguson's decision to take a seat at the Mestalla in September 2010 could well have been De Gea's showing against Barcelona just three days previously.

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga

The Catalans eventually ran out 2-1 winners with Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique finding the net early but the scoreline would have been far more embarrassing if it wasn't for Atletico Madrid's young 'keeper.

De Gea showed fine reflexes and shot stopping to keep a series of long range efforts and even a one-on-one against Lionel Messi. Take a look at his highlights:

Not bad for a 20-year-old playing against one of the greatest teams in history, huh?

Manchester United would go onto face that very Barcelona in the Champions League final that season with Ferguson conceding: "In my time as a manager, I would say they're the best team we've faced."

De Gea stopped them running riot at the Vicente Calderón, though, and Ferguson has been more than vindicated for following up and signing him.

Do you think David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
La Liga
David De Gea
Football

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