Manchester United legend Jaap Stam names his all-time career XI

Reading Media Access

Despite spending just three years at the club, Jaap Stam is widely regarded as one of Manchester United's greatest ever centre-backs.

The Dutchman, once dubbed a "beast" by Zinedine Zidane, was a fearless competitor and played a huge role in United's historic treble during the 1998/99 season.

A further two Premier League titles followed for Stam, who joined Lazio in 2001 for £16 million after a reported falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over comments in his book 'Head to Head'.

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, he explained exactly why he was sold 15 years ago.

Stam, now manager at Reading, said: "Every club has like three or four players who are - how you call it? - like the spokesmen, the committee, and I was in there as well.

"Occasionally you speak with a couple of people from the board and about the situation of the club. That's when they told us that budget-wise they needed to do something.

"They didn't mention names but... It wasn't about the book. We spoke about it with the board as well about having a problem with the budget at the time.

"They needed to sell somebody eventually and, of course, there had been an offer placed for a player. I had been there three seasons, a bit more, and won everything with the club.

"They (United) paid, what was it, £10-11 million for me? And they could sell me three years later for £15-16 million."

Leeds Utd v Man Utd

Ahead of Stam's return to Old Trafford with Reading in the FA Cup, the 44-year-old picked his all-time career XI using former teammates, five of which United legends (including himself).

The former defender played with some great players at the Theatre of Dreams but also at Lazio, AC Milan and for the Netherlands national team.

Here's the XI in full, alongside a graphic from Sky Sports' Fantasy Football Club:

Edwin Van Der Sar; Cafu, himself, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini; Clarence Seedorf, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes; Dennis Bergkamp, Ronaldo (Brazilian), Ryan Giggs.

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