Juan Sebastian Veron endured a difficult two-season stint at Manchester United but the Argentine great has regrets about leaving Old Trafford so quickly.
Veron signed for United for a then-record £28.1million in 2001 amid plenty of excitement from manager Alex Ferguson and the fans as the club sought to recapture the Champions League.
But while Veron started his United career well he often struggled to keep up with the pace of the Premier League and departed just two years later for Chelsea, after helping United to a Premier League title in 2003.
Veron admitted to growing frustrated with having to play in different systems with different players from week to week, but said he should have stuck it out at United.
“Sometimes I played with [Paul] Scholes and [Roy] Keane,” Veron told United Review.
“Sometimes in a 4-4-2 with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. The system varied, but I should have stayed at United and not left.”
Veron said the move from Italy to England represented a big cultural shock for him and his family, but was grateful for the efforts of the people of Manchester and at the club to help him adjust; especially Ferguson for attempting to speak Spanish.
“It was a big change of culture for us,” he said.
“We’d been happy living in Italy, but the people in Manchester helped us adjust. The best thing was the people, in the club, in the street. We lived in Hale.
“It was tranquil, there was a small forest nearby, and we liked it. Roy Keane – the captain and a top player in a group where standards were high – lived near me.
“There were people in the dressing room who spoke Italian and Spanish. Mikael Silvestre spoke Italian, Laurent Blanc too.
“Quinton Fortune spoke Spanish, while Diego Forlan would arrive and he spoke Spanish.
“And El Mister [Ferguson] tried to speak Spanish! People at Carrington always had a word for me in Spanish.”
Veron would later return to his home club Estudiantes, where he is now president, and said he was proud to continue to represent the team.
“I’m proud. It’s my city, my people,” he said.
“Estudiantes is different to United – we have divisions for many sports, not just football. And I’m Estudiantes, I can’t just move to another club.
“It can never compare to playing, but I’m enjoying it. And I enjoyed it in Manchester.”
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