FRANCK RIBERY did not not join Manchester United in 2006 because Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t consider the France international top drawer.
Ribery, then playing for Marseille, was fully expected to sign on at Old Trafford.
But, in the latest batch of diaries published by Tony Blair’s former communications chief Alastair Campbell, a different story has emerged.
Spin doctor Campbell knew Ferguson well, the Manchester United manager having come out as a strong supporter of Tony Blair’s administration.
The Sunday Times reports that in February 2006, Campbell and Ferguson went to watch Bolton Wanderers play Marseille.
Ribery was 22 at the time and was about to be named Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year.
Writes Campbell: “Alex was watching Franck Ribery, the Marseilles winger, but decided by half-time that he was not good enough for United.”
Ribery left Marseilles the following summer to join Bayern Munich, with whom he would win the Champions League in 2013.
He was heavily linked with Arsenal, but chose the German giants instead.
Since then Ribery has scored 88 goals in 277 outings for Bayern – not bad for a flank player.
He has won seven Bundesliga titles with Bayern and remains one of the world’s most respected players.
But Ribery wasn’t up to scratch as far as Fergie was concerned.