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Sir Alex Ferguson’s best quotes

May 8, 2013, 9:22 AM EDT

File photo of Britain's Alex Ferguson at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards Reuters

One thing Sir Alex Ferguson could never be accused of during his managerial career: holding back when he had something he wanted to say.

Over his 26 years in charge of Manchester United, Ferguson has churned out hundreds of memorable quotes that have left journalists, players, fans and managers in hysterics.

His words often spark fear, laughter and intrigue as Fergie has been in numerous confrontations with officials, the league and other clubs throughout his time in charge at Old Trafford. But that was all for one thing, the success of Manchester United Football Club.

Sit back, relax, grab yourself a nice glass of Rioja (take note Mourinho) and enjoy this list of Ferguson’s best ever quotes. Magic.

On other managers:

On Jose Mourinho: “He was certainly full of it, calling me ‘Boss’ and ‘Big Man’ when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.”

On Rafael Benitez: “I think he is very concerned about his CV, he refers to it quite a lot.”

On his bust-up with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew:“The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy.”

On Arsène Wenger “They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”

(More: What they’re saying about Ferguson’s retirement)

His Players:

On Gary Neville “If he was an inch taller he’d be the best centre-half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I’d check the milkman.”

On the infamous incident when he kicked a boot and it hit David Beckham in the head :“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!”

On Ryan Giggs “I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.”

On Paul Ince “I used to have a saying that when a player is at his peak, he feels as though he can climb Everest in his slippers. That’s what he was like.”

On Wayne Rooney’s decision to sign a new contract: “Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it’s a better cow than the one you’ve got in the field.”

On Real Madrid’s hopes of signing Cristiano Ronaldo: “Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.”

(More: Ferguson retires, so who is next for Manchester United?)

On fierce rivals Manchester City and Liverpool:

On Manchester City’s emergence: “There has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and with the spending they have done, they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can’t do anything about them.”

On Liverpool “My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f****** perch. And you can print that.”

On Liverpool’s title hopes in 2007 “You must be joking. Do I look as if I’m a masochist ready to cut myself? How does relegation sound instead?”

On Manchester City’s Carlos Tévez poster “It’s City, isn’t it? They are a small club, with a small mentality. All they can talk about is Manchester United, that’s all they’ve done and they can’t get away from it.”

General Comments:

On the Italian teams and their mind games: “When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.”

On AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi: “That lad must have been born offside.”

On United’s dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 1999: “Football, bloody hell.”

On retirement: “The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.”

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