Ferguson snubbed by star who would have helped Man Utd "win titles for decades"

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Italy legend Alessandro Del Piero turns 47 today, but few may know that Sir Alex Ferguson was snubbed by the former forward more than once.

Ferguson moved for Del Piero on two occasions, but the Italian star remained committed to Juventus both times he was approached by the Manchester United boss.

After moving to Juventus from Padova in 1993, Del Piero became one of the best strikers in the world, finishing his career as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.

His goals helped Juve to win six Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League, with Ferguson making him one of his top transfer targets as a result.

Del Piero faced United three times over the course of his 23-year career, scoring two goals and winning two of those clashes.

After one of those games, in which Del Piero left United’s defence with nightmares, Ferguson attempted to bring him to Old Trafford.

But according to the Scot, the striker stayed loyal to Juve, turning down United before Ferguson had a chance to explain his offer.

“Del Piero is the only one who I would've gone mad for,” Ferguson said last year.

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“After a match between United and Juventus, in which he destroyed half of our defence, Giggs and Neville came to me and asked me to buy him at all costs.

“Because someone like him would've made us win everything for decades. And so I contact the Juve representatives, and the lad's agent.

“He refused even before listening to my proposal, telling me that Juve was the best place for him and, that while he respected Man United, he would never have been able to betray the black and white colours.

“A pity, because I never again saw someone like him.”

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That was not the only time that Ferguson attempted a move for Del Piero though, with the United boss returning for the striker after Juventus were relegated to Serie B for their part in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

But once again, Del Piero turned him down, insisting that he wanted to help to restore Juve to their place at the top of Serie A.

“I courted him even just after Italy's World Cup win [in 2006]. In that time, Real Madrid were also after him,” Ferguson added.

“Given the issues around Juventus at the time, I imagined that between us at United and the 'galacticos', there would be a fair auction to get him.

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“And so I called him directly: 'Alex, I'd like you at United', I said. 'You'll be the star of the squad, and together we'll win everything'.

“He laughed and replied: 'Sir, you know that nothing has changed from all those years ago. Juve are facing difficult times, and I have to help them. I can't be a coward'.

“In 2008, I saw him again and he greeted me with a hug. He apologised for refusing my offer. I put my hand on his shoulder and re-assured him, 'you wanted to save Juventus, and you did it'.”

  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Manchester United FC
  • Premier League

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