Former Manchester United forward Giuseppe Rossi says Sir Alex Ferguson’s close relationships with his players made him “unique” as a manager.
The 32-year-old former Italy international spent three seasons at Old Trafford, but scored only once in the Premier League, making five appearances.
Now a free agent, he is training with former side Villarreal as he looks to rebuild his career after a number of serious injuries, and his time at United is clearly something he remembers with fondness.
“It’s hard to compare Sir Alex Ferguson to anyone,” he told La Liga.
“He was very unique in the way that he is able to protect his players off the field, he treats you as if you’re his own kid. He protects you. He is someone that really cares for his players.
“On the field he makes his voice heard if he doesn’t like what he sees. It was a pleasure for me and I’m sure it was a pleasure for all the players that were under him to have him on your side.”
Rossi has been without a club since leaving Genoa in the summer of 2018 as he looks to end his career on a high following years of injury disruption.
He has linked back up with former team-mate Santi Cazorla, who has had a similar ordeal in dealing with injury heartache in recent years.
But, after initially returning to train with Villarreal as Rossi has done, the former Arsenal playmaker has made a stunning recovery, and recently scored his first international goal in four years since earning a spot back in the Spain squad.
“It’s crazy,” Rossi said of meeting up with Cazorla again.
“When we were playing years ago we never thought we would have these situations in our careers. But it happens. It’s all part of sport and it’s how you come [back] and it’s the fight you put in to the recovery, to wanting to get back to your levels.
“I’ve been down and I came back up, particularly with Santi – he’s back to playing at these high levels, playing with the national team also so he’s definitely an inspiration to me and also to all the young players and to other players on this team.
“It’s crazy the parallels we have. It’s always great to see him back and to see him playing at those levels.”