Man Utd wanted to sign Totti, reveals Ferguson, but former Roma star 'didn't want to leave'

Francesco Totti RomaGetty

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he attempted to sign Francesco Totti while he was manager of Manchester United, however, the Roma legend refused to leave the only club he would ever represent.

Totti is an all-time great for Roma, representing the club between 1992 and 2017 and playing 619 Serie A games, scoring 250 goals and winning one league title and the Coppa Italia twice.

If Ferguson had his way, however, Totti would have lined up in the red of United during the course of his illustrious career.

What did Ferguson say?

The former United manager told Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the Europa League semi-final, in which the Red Devils will face Roma: “We liked the player and we would have liked to include him in our plans, but when we expressed our interest, it immediately became clear that Totti didn’t want to leave Rome.

“He was deeply attached to his city. His CV is clear. Totti has, in his career, only worn the Roma shirt.”

Man Utd's 7-1 win over Roma

Totti did play at Old Trafford, albeit in the colours of Roma, in the 2007 Champions League quarter-finals - and endured a miserable time as his side were crushed 7-1 by United in their second-leg encounter.

Ferguson, whose side went on to lose to eventual champions AC Milan in the semi-finals, describes the game as one of the most perfect during his managerial career, and that he had a feeling beforehand that United would put in a special performance.

He said: “Each player played his best music and, together, they composed a wonderful symphony. I immediately had the feeling that I was experiencing one of those nights that rarely happens in the life of a coach.”

Ferguson was full of praise for Roma coach Luciano Spalletti as his opposite number joined him for a post-match drink, despite the result.

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The Scot said: “I was pleased that Spalletti accepted the invitation, despite the result and the elimination.

“He came to my office for our drink and the fact that he showed up, keeping his promise, was a demonstration of a strong personality. I can imagine it wasn’t easy for him to toast me, but he didn’t back down, like a true sportsman.”

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