Calamity goalkeeper Massimo Taibi has insisted that Sir Alex Fergsuon begged him to stay at Manchester United.
Ferguson purchased the Italian stopper in 1999 for £4.5m from Venezia. Fergie was looking for a replacement for Peter Schmeichel, but Taibi was not the man for the job.
He was inconsistent to say the least and made a series of blunders, despite a decent start against Liverpool on his debut.
He flapped at a free-kick, allowing Sami Hyypia to score, but then went on to win the man-of-the-match award after making a string of fine saves.
However, things got worse for Taibi when he allowed Matt Le Tissier’s long range shot creep through his arms and under him in an iconic match against Southampton. The majority of his United team-mates had turned away and focused on a quick counter-attack, only to see the ball squirm over the line.
That goal was the one which he became synonymous with and in January 2000 he left on loan for Reggina.
Taibi though insists he left on his own terms.
Asked by AmericanGambler.com if it was his decision to leave, he said: “Of course, it was 100% my decision to leave Manchester United.
“I had a four-year contract. I remember, for example, Teddy Sheringham who knew I had a serious family issue, asked me to stay. Even Sir Alex Ferguson begged me to wait, to go back to Italy for two weeks to try to resolve the issues and then come back to Manchester.
“The team had to go to Brazil for the Club World Cup and he said to me: ‘You don’t need to come with us. Stay and take the time to resolve your family issues and you re-join the team when we get back’.
“But in that moment, my family issues were just too big, so I decided that I had to leave – and that was my mistake., because Ferguson and my teammates helped me throughout my issue.
“In Italy, two weeks of holiday with that kind of human consideration that Sir Alex offered me, just doesn’t exist. I was just too impulsive.
“I realised soon after that I would not have been able to resolve my issues however, and it would have been just the same if I had stayed in England, but it was too late. It’s the only football regret I had.
“Especially because so much false stuff was written about me: that I was kicked out, that I was the worst goalkeeper in English football history, even though I was the best player on the pitch in my first two matches.
“Yes, the next two weren’t great, but let’s be honest, this can happen to anybody. I didn’t know the language. I felt as though I was really at home in Manchester and that it was a great place for me. A dream. It was a dream, but my world totally collapsed when I had this grave family issue back home.”
Taibi, 50, was also asked about how he found going into a changing room with so many great players who had just won the Treble.
He added: “Look, it was truly memorable. Because, as well as being technically great, the players at United were great human beings – truly extraordinary people.
“They took me in so well and even now, 20 years later, I still live with the regret of having left in December due to family problems.
“I immediately regretted it. I should have stayed and worked on my family problems in England; and it’s the biggest regret of my footballing career because it was an amazing environment, team and technical level.”