They said it: Sir Alex Ferguson
© AFP

Many individuals in football are given the title ‘legend’ before they deserve it. However, with 16 league titles with Aberdeen and Manchester United, six European trophies and a FIFA Club World Cup to his name, Sir Alex Ferguson is every inch a giant in the game.

To some, he is ‘the Godfather of football’, to others ‘the Boss’ – and the Glaswegian’s near remarkable reign at Old Trafford has certainly provided miraculous moments, controversial occurrences and many mind-games with his adversaries, most notably Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez and Kevin Keegan.

Ferguson’s mentality has been shaped from the straight-talking streets of Govan, in the shipyards of the River Clyde and his working-class, socialist principles. In the wake of the Manchester United boss announcing his retirement, FIFA.com brings you some of the best of his countless classic quotes.

“My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their perch.”
Ferguson on his biggest achievement

“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.”
Ferguson during half-time of the UEFA Champions League final in 1999

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell.”
Ferguson on winning that final against Bayern Munich

“It would have been Sir Matt Busby's 90th birthday today, but I think he was up there doing a lot of kicking.”
Ferguson reflects on the famous victory in Barcelona

“The most important piece of advice he gave me was not to read the press, it was great advice and I have not read it since.”
Ferguson on advice from Busby

“It can be difficult to pinpoint who would make it as a manager. For instance, nobody here thought Mark Hughes would become a manager, never in a million years, and we all thought Bryan Robson was a certainty to be a top manager.”
Ferguson on his former players becoming managers

“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!”
Ferguson on Arsene Wenger

“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.”
Ferguson on Jose Mourinho

“They come out with the ‘English are so strong, we’re terrible in the air, we can’t do this, we can’t do that’. Then they beat you 3-0.”
Ferguson on Italian flattery

“That lad must have been born offside.”
Ferguson on Filippo Inzaghi

“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. “
Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo

“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.”
Ferguson on Gary Neville

“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.”
Ferguson on David Beckham

“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!”
Ferguson on hitting David Beckham in the head with a boot

“Whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood.”
Ferguson on Ryan 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.”
Ferguson on Giggs

“When we signed him [Rooney] at 18, everyone said ‘what will he be like at 21?’ Now he’s 21, people are saying ‘what will he be like at 25?’ It was always destined to be that way.”
Ferguson on 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 your own field. It's a fact. Right? And it never really works out that way."
Ferguson on Rooney’s brief flirtation with Manchester City

"It's City isn't it? They're a small club with a small mentality. All they can talk about is Manchester United; they can't get away from it."
Ferguson on City

'Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You cannot do anything about that. They will always be noisy. You just have to get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder. Today the players showed their form. That is the best answer of all.”
Ferguson after following a derby day victory

“At half-time it could have been 20-all! But commonsense took over - or boring football took over!”
Ferguson on a 3-2 win over Fulham in 2005

“It's getting tickly now - squeaky-bum time, I call it.”
Ferguson on the final weeks of the 2002/03 title race  

“I’ve got a plan to stop him: it’s called a machete! Plan B is a machine gun!”
Ferguson his plans for stopping Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

"To the fans, thank you. The support you have provided over the years has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead your club and I have treasured my time as manager of Manchester United."
Ferguson announces his retirement