Speaking exclusively to Gambling Zone, former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron has revealed:
- I wanted two more years at Old Trafford - but I know why Sir Alex sold me
- Paul Scholes was right, we couldn’t play together
- I was always grateful to Sir Alex for telling journalists to ‘f*** off’ in 2002
- It is time for Lautaro Martinez to replace Karim Benzema
I wanted two more years at Old Trafford - but I know why Sir Alex sold me
JSV: “Maybe I could have stayed for a bit longer. But I know it was a hard decision for Sir Alex to make because he had spent a lot of money to bring me there. No doubt, everyone expected more of me. But my struggles were not good for the team. However, I would have liked to have stayed for a couple of more years, but I completely understand the decision.”
Playing for Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘one of the best experiences of my life’
JSV: “It was one of the best experiences of my life, for every single reason, not just for training reasons or coaching reasons. He has everything as a manager and he is the reason why Manchester United were so brilliant.
“It is also the reason why the club has struggled so much since he left, because he left such a great legacy.”
I was always grateful to Sir Alex for telling journalists to ‘f*** off’ in 2002
JSV: “I was just very grateful for that, I always respected his defence of me. I know my English past isn’t so great - lots of ups and downs - I never had regularity in my football career over there.
“I don’t like this because in my seven years in Italy, I played a consistent level of football. In England there were so many ups and downs, so I am forever grateful to Sir Alex for defending me from the media.
“But my football, at that moment, was not that good.”
Liverpool legend Javier Mascherno told me Alejandro Garnacho will be a superstar
JSV: “I spoke to Javier Mascherano and he fully expects him to become a star. Playing for Manchester United at that age is not easy, but I think he has to have patience.
“He needs to work really hard, because he has the chance to become a regular player for a really big player. I really trust Mascherano’s words, so for him to say he is the best young talent in Argentina is a really big compliment - but it just shows his undoubted quality and he is someone who I am sure has a big future.”
Paul Scholes was right, we couldn’t play together
JSV: “While there were many other external difficulties to define my time on the pitch, although maybe it was a problem for me and Scholesy. I recognise this though and I have no problem admitting this.”
I learned so much from playing alongside Roy Keane
JSV: “I have nothing but good memories for all of my teammates from my time in England, I’m grateful for my time at Manchester United. My time on the Old Trafford pitch may not have been so good for me. But my teammates were all incredible.
“Roy Keane has a strong personality, but he was a really good guy. I learned the importance of having a good captain as well, I picked up so many good traits from him as I looked to become a leader myself.”
Inter Milan were ‘close to perfect’ - but Man City are the world’s best
JSV: “I actually thought the performance from Inter was close to perfect because, at this moment, Manchester City are the best team in the world. Inter played an open game, which meant they had to go through suffering.
“But they were brave when they needed to be, kept it tight when they had to and then looked to spring long balls onto City. You can’t just sit back against City, you have to take risks to try and hurt them. For this reason, I think Inter had a fantastic game.”
Football has changed so much since I played - Man City are not for me
JSV: “I think football has changed so much from when I played. I’m not just saying specifically Manchester City, but I don’t think any team would suit my style right now. The game I played feels completely different, like a different version.
“So now, there are too many transitions, too much defending and I preferred playing much quicker and more expansive football. I recognise Manchester City are a good team and they play great football, but I don’t think it is for me.”
It is time for Lautaro Martinez to replace Karim Benzema
JSV: “When you spend so much time with one team, sometimes you just need new objectives and you have to follow your dreams. Playing for Real Madrid, for every player, is their big dream - no question. He is a key player for Inter, the fans won’t want him to go, but I think the style of football Madrid play would suit Martinez better.”
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are so different - but Pep is the world’s best
JSV: “It is two completely different styles, every coach has their own special attributes. The only thing that matters is winning, so Mourinho and Guardiola have perfected this art in different ways. It is hard to split the pair, as one being better.
“At this moment, Guardiola is the best in the world - no doubt.”
Erik ten Hag has made a good start - but United can be even better
JSV: “After Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United, and the last of the generation of Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, Neville, Keane etc all left the club, they have found it very difficult to consistently deliver results, performances and a good team.
“I finally see a good team, putting in good performances, after years of ups and downs. Maybe now he has clearer objectives and a clearer vision than previous managers. Ten Hag was a great choice for Manchester United and he needs more time to develop this team.
“It’s a good start and maybe next season we can see an even better team.”