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Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things you need to know

updated 8:01 AM EDT, Wed October 23, 2013
Just what did former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson think about Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo? Read on...... Just what did former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson think about Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo? Read on......
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Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
Alex Ferguson's book: 10 things not to miss
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alex Ferguson's autobiography unveiled
  • The former Manchester United manager chronicles his relationships with many players
  • Ferguson describes Wayne Rooney as "not the quickest learner"
  • The Scotsman twice turned down the opportunity to manage England

(CNN) -- It is the much-anticipated book many in football have been waiting for, while others have feared its publication.

Alex Ferguson's autobiography offered the tantalizing prospect of lifting the lid on life as the manager of one of the world's biggest football clubs -- Manchester United.

Ferguson retired after 27 years at Old Trafford in May, giving him time to reflect on a career which has seen the Scotsman clash with the great and the good of world football.

If you don't have the time to sift through Ferguson's 400-page memoir, don't worry.

CNN is here to help, with the 10 things you can't afford to miss from "Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography."

Read: Keane hits back at Ferguson

Alex Ferguson receives a guard of honor from his Manchester United players to mark his 1500th and final game in charge of the new EPL champions. Alex Ferguson receives a guard of honor from his Manchester United players to mark his 1500th and final game in charge of the new EPL champions.
Legend honored
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Ferguson era ends with goal fest Ferguson era ends with goal fest
Alex Ferguson with the English Premier League trophy after Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea. Alex Ferguson with the English Premier League trophy after Manchester United's 2-1 win over Swansea.
United fans farewell Alex Ferguson
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United fans farewell Alex Ferguson United fans farewell Alex Ferguson

Ferguson on Wayne Rooney:

Ferguson and the United staff were impressed with Rooney from a young age. "This was a man playing in under-age football," the Scot's scouting reports told him when he was a schoolboy playing for rival club Everton.

United attempted to sign Rooney at the ages of 14 and 16, but on both occasions the young striker turned the Old Trafford club down, with the forward's commitment to Everton being such that the club was "in his blood," according to Ferguson.

"A remarkable raw talent," is how Ferguson describes the player he finally signed in 2004, but he also labels Rooney as "not the quickest learner."

Ferguson also didn't take kindly to Rooney's suggestions as to which players United might sign.

Playmaker Mesut Ozil is currently delighting Arsenal fans with his sparkling form. And according to Ferguson, the German was a player Rooney thought United should have bought in 2010, before he joined Real Madrid from Werder Bremen.

Ferguson told Rooney in no uncertain terms that it was "none of his business who we should have gone for."

Ferguson on Roy Keane:

Roy Keane played for United between 1993 and 2005, acting as Ferguson's general and captain out on the pitch.

"He was the most influential presence in the dressing room in the time we worked together," says Ferguson. "Roy took a lot of the onus off me in making sure the dressing room was operating at a high level of motivation."

Everton manager David Moyes (left) and Manchester United's soon-to-retire boss Alex Ferguson (right) are pictured during the FA Cup semifinal match between their two teams at Wembley Stadium in April 2009. United announced Wednesday that Ferguson, 71, will be retiring at the end of the season after more than a quarter of a century at the helm. Everton manager David Moyes (left) and Manchester United's soon-to-retire boss Alex Ferguson (right) are pictured during the FA Cup semifinal match between their two teams at Wembley Stadium in April 2009. United announced Wednesday that Ferguson, 71, will be retiring at the end of the season after more than a quarter of a century at the helm.
David Moyes: Alex Ferguson's successor
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David Moyes: Alex Ferguson\'s successor David Moyes: Alex Ferguson's successor
Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced he will retire at the end of the English Premier League season. Ferguson has managed the team for 26 years, making him the longest-serving manager in Premier League history. Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced he will retire at the end of the English Premier League season. Ferguson has managed the team for 26 years, making him the longest-serving manager in Premier League history.
Longest-serving coaches in sports
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Photos: Longest-serving coaches in sports Photos: Longest-serving coaches in sports

But Keane was fiercely critical of players who he deemed weren't committed to the United cause and as his relationship with the club fractured, it would be his undoing.

The Irishman lambasted some of the team's younger players during an interview with United's MUTV television channel.

"The hardest part of his body is his tongue," says Ferguson of Keane. "He had the most savage tongue you can imagine."

Keane left United to sign for boyhood club Celtic, where he played 10 games before retiring in June 2006.

Read: World Cup playoffs -- Ronaldo vs. Zlatan

Ferguson on David Beckham:

Both Ferguson and David Beckham bowed out of football at the end of the 2012-13 season, with the former saying "He went out at Paris Saint-Germain much as I did at United: on his own terms."

Beckham left United to join Real Madrid in 2003 and Ferguson details how the relationship between the two had deteriorated.

After a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in February 2003, Ferguson kicked a boot which flew towards Beckham and struck him just about his left eye. It marked the beginning of the end of Beckham's United career.

Ferguson suggests Beckham became distracted by the media storm which follows him wherever he goes.

"His eye was off the ball," says Ferguson. "A shame, because he could still have been at Manchester United when I left."

As a player, Alex Ferguson enjoyed a moderately successful career. A prolific striker, he scored 170 goals in 317 appearances including 25 goals in 41 appearances for Glasgow Rangers.
As a player, Alex Ferguson enjoyed a moderately successful career. A prolific striker, he scored 170 goals in 317 appearances including 25 goals in 41 appearances for Glasgow Rangers.
A formidable forward
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The seven moments which define Alex Ferguson The seven moments which define Alex Ferguson
Platini on Ferguson and Beckham retirements

Ferguson does praise the former England captain's tenacity and longevity, but wonders whether Beckham might live to regret swapping European football for Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.

"At some point in his life, he may feel the urge to say: I made a mistake."

Ferguson on Suarez/Evra affair:

One of the great controversies of Ferguson's latter years at United is the racism row which erupted between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, of the club's great rivals Liverpool.

Suarez was hit with an eight-game ban in December 2011 for racially abusing Evra, with Ferguson highly critical of how then Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish handled the affair.

Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand ahead of a match later on in the 2011-12 season, an act which drew Ferguson's ire.

"A club of Liverpool's stature should have done something about that, but he played in the game all the same," recalls Ferguson.

"I called Suarez a 'disgrace to Liverpool' and said they would be wise to 'get rid' of him."

Blog: Can brain power improve footballers?

Ferguson on England job:

The passionate Scotsman reveals he was twice offered the chance to manage the England national team, in 1999 and 2001. But it was not a job he entertained accepting for one minute.

Alex Ferguson's recipe for success
CNN FC: Moyes replaces Ferguson

"There was no way I could contemplate taking the England job," he says. "Can you imagine me doing that? A Scotsman?

"I always joked that I would take the position and relegate them: make them the 150th rated country in the world, with Scotland 149."

Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo:

He is in no doubt that Ronaldo was "the most gifted player I managed."

"He surpassed all the other great ones (players) I coached at United. And I had many," says Ferguson of the Portuguese star.

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a then world record fee of £80 million pounds in 2009, a transfer which Ferguson describes as "a clever move by them."

"It was a way for Florentino Perez, their president, to say to the world 'We are Real Madrid, we are the biggest of the lot.'"

It marked the end of a two-year pursuit of Ronaldo by Real Madrid.

Perez's predecessor as Real president Ramon Calderon made a bid to sign the explosive forward in 2008 which irked Ferguson, with the Scot telling Ronaldo "I'd rather shoot you than sell you to that guy now."

A year later, Ronaldo was unveiled in the Spanish capital.

Read: Ferguson backs struggling David Moyes

Ferguson on Barcelona:

CNN Football Club: Alex Ferguson special
Bobby Charlton: Ferguson's best moment

In 2009 and 2011, Ferguson saw his United team lose to Barcelona in European Champions League finals.

Barcelona's style of play was unrivaled in Ferguson's eyes and he describes the Catalan team as "the best team ever to line up against my Manchester United sides."

Ferguson reserves special praise for Lionel Messi, the four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner who was to become Barcelona's talisman.

"The group of world-beaters who formed around Messi were formidable," declares Ferguson. "I felt no envy towards those great sides. Regrets yes, when we lost to them, but jealousy, no."

Ferguson on Sven Goran Eriksson:

Ferguson first announced his intention to retire in 2001, saying he would sever all ties with United in May 2002.

Eventually he performed a U-turn and signed a new contract with the club and the rest, as they say, is history.

But for a large part of the 2001-02 season, United's board were trying to identify a successor to Ferguson.

The man they had in mind, according to Ferguson, was then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"The head-hunters were due to meet a candidate to succeed me the following week," explains Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson calls it a career
Sami Khedira gave Germany an early lead against the Republic of Ireland as they booked their passage to the 2014 World Cup finals. Sami Khedira gave Germany an early lead against the Republic of Ireland as they booked their passage to the 2014 World Cup finals.
German joy
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World Cup winners and losers World Cup winners and losers

"Sven-Goran Eriksson was to be the new Manchester United manager, I believe ... I remember asking Paul Scholes one day: "Scholesy, what's Eriksson got?' but Scholesy could shed no light."

Read: 'Stranded footballer allowed to leave Qatar

Prince William shows off his footballing skills during a training session on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Prince William shows off his footballing skills during a training session on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Footballing royal
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Prince William hosts Buckingham Palace football match Prince William hosts Buckingham Palace football match
Prince William is a huge soccer fan who arranged for a special game to be played at Buckingham Palace as part of the English Football Association's 150th birthday. Prince William is a huge soccer fan who arranged for a special game to be played at Buckingham Palace as part of the English Football Association's 150th birthday.
Buckingham Palace transformed for a day
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Ferguson on Jose Mourinho:

When Jose Mourinho was unveiled as Chelsea manager in 2004, Ferguson suspected he could be a serious rival to United in the pursuit of major honors.

"Jose was fresh in town, working for an employer with stacks of money, and with hype clearing his path," Ferguson says of the manager who arrived at Chelsea after guiding an unfancied Porto team to European Champions League glory in 2004.

"(Chelsea) were much better organized than before. I didn't win a game at Stamford Bridge after Mourinho arrived."

Mourinho rejoined Chelsea earlier this year, after winning an Italian league, cup and Champions League treble with Inter Milan in 2010 and a Spanish title with Real Madrid in 2012.

Ferguson on rivals Manchester City:

In a thrilling climax to the 2011-12 English Premier League season, Ferguson saw his United team lose out on the title to their neighbors Manchester City, who scored a last-minute goal on the final day of the campaign to secure their triumph.

Ferguson felt the pain of a crushing defeat, but it was his wife Cathy who was inconsolable.

"Cathy said, 'That was the worst day of my life. I can't take much more of this.'

"I felt pretty ragged myself, but I could see the distress in my wife. 'Cathy,' I began, 'we have a great life, and we've had a fantastic period of success.'

'I know,' she said. 'but I'm not going out. There are too many City fans in the village.'"

Cathy need not have worried. United beat City to the title by 11 points in 2013, with Ferguson retiring after securing the club's 20th English championship.

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