English Premiership

Ronaldo leads Fergie tributes

2013-05-08 17:33
Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)

London - Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to Alex Ferguson from the worlds of sport and politics on Wednesday after the Manchester United manager announced he was standing down at the end of the season.

Former United winger Ronaldo's message on Twitter was simple - he posted a picture of his first day at Old Trafford with Ferguson in 2003 with the message "Thanks for everything, Boss."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, a supporter of Premier League strugglers Aston Villa, tweeted: "Sir Alex Ferguson's achievement at#MUFC has been exceptional. Hopefully his retirement will make life a little easier for my team."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the football world may never again see a reign like Ferguson's at United that spanned 26 years and 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles.

"His achievements in the game place him without doubt as one of the 'greats'" Blatter said on Twitter.

"Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?"

UEFA President Michel Platini hailed Ferguson as "a true visionary" who has made "a major contribution" to football.

"His CV is almost unique in a profession where results count and which normally looks to short-term rather than long-term solutions," Platini said.

"His dedication, his attention to details and his eye for talent while manager of Manchester United and Aberdeen have been richly rewarded for over 30 years."

While former Manchester United players hailed the manager's extraordinary record of winning trophies, ex-midfielder Paul Ince warned that his successor would find Ferguson's shadow looming over them in his new role on the club's board.

Ince said: "He's done the lot, you will never see anyone of his kind again.

"Replacing Alex Ferguson is such a massive, massive job. Whoever goes in will need the help of Alex Ferguson," he added.

"Whoever comes in, if it doesn't go well you've got Sir Alex Ferguson upstairs and it can put added pressure on you."

Peter Schmeichel, the Danish goalkeeper who was one of Ferguson's most important signings at United, described his decision to retire as a shock and said he could not "make sense of the timing".

"It has come as a bombshell, I really don't know what to make of it," Schmeichel said.

"Yesterday I was really happy with what he had done this season, now this, I'm disappointed and very sad.

"He's always said the day would come when something in his life wasn't right. Is it his hip operation (he is due to have this summer)? I can't see him retiring over that. (Until) he explains why, we can guess and guess."

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, said his fellow Scot's record at his previous club Aberdeen - rather than the success he had at United - was the real proof that he was an all-time great.

While at Aberdeen, Ferguson on the Scottish league twice, in 1984 and 1985, breaking the dominance of Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers, who between them have monopolised the title ever since.

"I'm pleased he's managed to catch everyone by surprise because I know he'll be pleased!," Salmond told AFP in an interview.

"I still think the greatest test of a real football manager is the ability to win the biggest prizes with unfashionable sides or less powerful teams.

"Winning the European Cup Winners' Cup with Aberdeen in Gothenburg (in 1983) is the indication that what we're talking about here is one of the all-time great football managers."

Michael Owen, the former England striker who was used sparingly by Ferguson in two seasons at United, said he was honoured to have played under him.

"What a man and great that it has ended on his terms. What a privilege to have played under arguably the best manager the world has ever seen. His record will surely never be eclipsed," Owen said.

Louis Saha, the French striker who scored 42 goals in 120 appearances for United said Ferguson was "the most powerful man I ever met in my life after my dad", adding: "Huge respect for Football God."

And golf star Rory McIlroy wrote: "An end of an era today! Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest of all time! United will have a tough time trying to replace him!"

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Shabba: Baxter 'a genius'

2014-04-16 14:03

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 April 2014
Manchester City v Sunderland, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 20:45
19 April 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham, White Hart Lane 13:45
West Ham United v Crystal Palace, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Cardiff City v Stoke City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Swansea City, St. James' Park 16:00
Aston Villa v Southampton, Villa Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sunderland, Stamford Bridge 18:30
20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.