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Former Man United chairman reveals why Alex Ferguson rejected the chance to sign Zinedine Zidane

United's former chairman Martin Edwards says the club came close to signing the Frenchman in 1996

Manchester United once turned down the chance to sign Zinedine Zidane because manager Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t want to upset Eric Cantona, according to former chairman Martin Edwards. 

Speaking to Radio 5 Live, the club’s honorary life president said: “Zidane and Eric played in the same position and Alex felt if they brought Zidane in it would have upset Eric.”


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The Frenchman was subject to intense transfer speculation in the summer of 1996, eventually leaving Ligue 1 side Bordeaux for then-Champions League holders Juventus.

But a host of top European clubs – including United – were reportedly interested in signing the attacking midfielder at the time.

When asked if he regrets turning down the chance to sign Zidane, Edwards replied: “In hindsight yes, because Eric retired a year later and Zidane was younger so he would have continued it.”

We can’t help but fantasise about Zidane slotting in beside Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham in that United side.

Just imagine it

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Just imagine it

The 1998 World Cup winner went on to spend five years at Juve, winning two Scudetto titles as well as the Italian Cup and the Intertoto Cup.

He then made the natural switch to Real Madrid in 2001 for a then-world record fee of £46.6million, going on to win the La Liga and the Champions League in 2002 (scoring that stunning volley in the process) before retiring in 2006.

Name a more iconic duo?

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Name a more iconic duo?

He’s not been up to much since, merely winning back-to-back Champions League titles as manager of Los Blancos.

All hail King Zizou.


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