[After winning Champions League in 1999] Football… bloody hell.
[Half time team talk in 1999 Champions League Final] At the end of this game, the European Cup will be only six feet away from you, and you’ll not even able to touch it if we lose. And for many of you, that will be the closest you will ever get. Don’t you dare come back in here without giving your all.
[Talking about 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.
The work of a team should always embrace a great player but the great player must always work.
You can’t applaud a referee.
[Talking about Arsene 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!
[Talking about 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.
It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.
[About that boot kick into Beckham’s face] 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!
[Talking about Arsene Wenger] He’s a novice – he should keep his opinions to Japanese football.
[Talking about Filippo Inzaghi] That lad must have been born offside.
My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f*****g perch. And you can print that.
When an Italian says it’s pasta I check under the sauce to make sure. They are innovators of the smokescreen.
[After Barcelona defeat Manchester United in 2009 Champions League Final] The credit to them, the better team won and there’s nothing we can do about that now.
At the last minute, from what I can gather, either Emmanuel Adebayor or his agent phoned us after they had agreed a deal with City and then did the same with Chelsea. He was desperate to get to either Chelsea or us.
[Talking about Manchester City] All they can talk about is Manchester United.
I’ve never played for a draw in my life.
Jose (Mourinho) understands winning and losing are twins in a way. When you win you don’t gloat and when you lose you don’t go bananas.
If Chelsea drop points, the cat’s out in the open. And you know what cats are like – sometimes they don’t come home.
[When Peter Schmeichel going up for the corner in 1999 Champions League Final] Can you f***ing believe him!?
If I have my health I can carry on. There will be a point when I do quit but I have absolutely no idea when that is.
I’m going to tell you the story about the geese which fly 5,000 miles from Canada to France. They fly in V-formation but the second ones don’t fly. They’re the subs for the first ones. And then the second ones take over – so it’s teamwork.
I don’t like losing but I’ve mellowed. I maybe have a short fuse but it goes away quicker now.
You must be joking. Do I look as if I’m a masochist ready to cut myself? How does relegation sound instead?
[About Wayne Rooney] 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.
As with every young player, he’s only 18.
[To Paul Ince] You’re a fu****g bottler, Incey. You cannae handle the stage, can you?
[About Ryan Giggs] Whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood.
I do believe in fate.
[After losing to Arsenal in 2006] Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that.
[About Sir Matt Busby] I’m privileged to have followed Sir Matt because all you have to do is to try and maintain the standards that he set so many years ago.
[About Rafael Benitez] I think he was an angry man. He must have been disturbed for some reason. I think you have got to cut through the venom of it and hopefully he’ll reflect and understand what he said was absolutely ridiculous.
[About his ‘hairdryer’ treatment] Myths grow all the time. If I was to listen to the number of times I’ve thrown teacups then we’ve gone through some crockery in this place. It’s completely exaggerated, but I don’t like people arguing back with me.
Well, football is a hard game; there’s no denying it. It’s a game that can bring out the worst in you, at times.
[About Roy Keane] It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt such an honour to be associated with such a player.
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…
To not apologise for the behaviour of the players to another manager is unthinkable. It’s a disgrace, but I don’t expect Wenger to ever apologise…he’s that type of person.
David Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practises with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn’t contemplate.
[After losing to Tottenham at home] They gave us four minutes [injury time], that’s an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match. There were six substitutions, the trainer came on, so that’s four minutes right away and the goalkeeper must have wasted about two or three minutes and they took their time at every goal kick. That’s obvious to everyone today and it’s a flaw in the game that the referee is responsible for time keeping. It’s ridiculous that it’s 2012 and the referee still has control of that.
[About Dennis Wise] He could start a row in an empty house.
[About Sam Allardyce] He’ll be getting a hug and a kiss from me – maybe even two!
[1st Impressions of 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.
[About referee Alan Wiley] The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs. We have some who are fit. He wasn’t fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous.
[After signing Wayne Rooney] Wayne is truly blessed. He doesn’t just have ability, he has a fire inside him.
[About 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.
[After arguing with Peter Schmeichel] He was towering over me and the other players were almost covering their eyes. I’m looking up and thinking ‘if he does hit me, I’m dead’.
If ever there was one player, anywhere in the world, that was made for Manchester United, it was Cantona. He swaggered in, stuck his chest out, raised his head and surveyed everything as though he were asking: ‘I’m Cantona. How big are you? Are you big enough for me?
Pardew has come out and criticised me. He is the worst at haranguing referees. He shoves them and makes a joke of it. How he can criticise me is unbelievable. He forgets the help I gave him, by the way. The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy. It is unfortunate but I am the manager of the most famous club in the world. Not Newcastle, a wee club in the North-East. I was demonstrative. I am always demonstrative. Everyone knows that. I am an emotional guy but I was not abusive.
[About Cristiano Ronaldo] I bet him he wouldn’t get 15 league goals and I’m going to have to change my bet with him. If he gets to 15 I can change it and I am allowed to do that because I’m the manager. I’m going to make it 150 now!
All my staff stood by me, the players stood by me, you stood by me, and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That’s important. My retirement doesn’t mean the end of my time at the club. I’ll now be able to enjoy watching them, rather than suffering with them. But, if you think about it, the last-minute goals, the comebacks, even the defeats, are all part of this great football club of ours. It’s been an unbelievable experience for all of us, so thank-you for that. I want to say thank-you to Manchester United. Not just the directors, coaching staff, medical staff, the players, the fans, but to all of you – you have been the most fantastic experience of my life. I’ve been very fortunate. I have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, let alone Manchester United. All the players here today have represented this club the proper way. They won the championship in a fantastic fashion, so well done to the players. To the players, I wish them every success in the future. You all know how good you are, you know the jersey you are wearing, you know what it means to everyone here and don’t ever let yourselves down.