Paul Pogba is officially OFF Jose Mourinho’s Christmas card list.
Tension between the pair has steadily increased for months, culminating in the Frenchman being stripped of the vice captaincy earlier this week.
Pogba wants to play free-flowing attacking football, Mourinho doesn’t.
Many believe this friction is one of the primary reasons for Man United falling behind the likes of Man City and Liverpool in recent times.
This never would have happened under Sir Alex Ferguson, right?
1 Ruud van Nistlerooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored goals.
He didn’t do much else, but that didn’t really matter.
Arguably the best poacher the Premier League has ever hosted was sent packing to Real Madrid despite scoring 150 goals in 219 games for United.
Rumours of disharmony were fuelled when the Dutchman abruptly dropped out of the starting line-up.
Ferguson was supposedly annoyed at Van Nistelrooy’s reaction to Cristiano Ronaldo’s equally selfish nature during a training ground bust-up.
Only one winner there…
2 Jaap Stam
One of Europe’s most dominant centre-backs left Man United at his peak in 2001.
And all because of a book.
Stam revealed in his autobiography that Ferguson had effectively tapped him up during his latter days with PSV.
The intimidating Dutchman was also less than flattering about the Neville brothers.
He described tea-mates Gary and Phil as ‘busy c***s’ which, while somewhat true, isn’t conducive to dressing room harmony.
Ferguson put his foot down and sold Stam to Lazio despite the fact he had signed a new five-year contract a couple months previous.
3 Roy Keane
Given enough time, all of us would fall out with Roy Keane.
United’s midfield general is well-known as one of the game’s more abrasive characters.
For years he and Fergie co-existed with tremendous results — the pair won seven league titles, four FA Cups, a Champions, and several other minor trophies together.
Eventually though, their personalities clashed.
Keane criticised training facilities during a pre-season tour before slagging off his team-mates during an interview with MUTV after an infamous 4-1 loss to Middlesbrough.
Some thought Keane was immune to Ferguson’s wrath but the legendary gaffer showed no mercy and stripped the Irishman of the captaincy.
Keane was then sold to Celtic at the earliest possible date.
4 Carlos Tevez
The Argentinian forward’s free transfer move from the red half of Manchester to the blue side is one of the most controversial switches in Premier League history.
Despite please from the Old Trafford faithful, Tevez was allowed to run down his contract at United after clashing with Ferguson.
The player’s attitude was questioned, a theme that would repeat at various points throughout Tevez’s career.
Tevez directly cited a fractious relationship with Ferguson as the main reason he left the club and even held aloft a sign that read ‘RIP Fergie’ during Man City’s open-top bus parade.
5 David Beckham
Becks’ celebrity lifestyle often threatened to overshadow his job as a professional footballer.
Ferguson felt the lad he had brought up from the youth team and moulded into a globally recognised superstar had grown too big for his boots.
And so Fergie kicked one of those boots straight at Beckham’s head.
The incident occurred after United had lost to Arsenal and Beckham emerged the next day sporting stitches above his eye — a symbol of the pair’s disconnect.
United accepted an offer from Barcelona but eventually sold Beckham to Real Madrid.
There’s a common theme in these examples — no player is bigger than the club.
Ferguson was prepared to cull prolific goalscorers, captains, world-class defenders, all in their prime (perhaps with the exception of Keane).
And the club continued to thrive.
During his reign, United was very much Ferguson’s club.
Will the club allow Mourinho the same authority and back him over record-signing Pogba?
Or will they exhibit a reversal of Fergie’s era and allow a player power of their manager?
The main difference is, for all his attributes and achievements, Mourinho is no Fergie.
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- There’s still plenty of time for Paul Pogba to transform into a modern Frank Lampard
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