Football: Best has swipe at United 'failures'

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The Independent Online
GEORGE BEST has made an extraordinary attack on his Manchester United successors, saying that players like striker Andy Cole "couldn't play" and "weren't worth the transfer fee".

The former United legend, speaking in Hong Kong during a visit to promote a new sports betting club, also claimed the Red Devils had been paying too much attention to the Champions' League and had suffered in the Premiership as a result.

Best, 52, said lifting the European Cup "has become a bit of a Holy Grail". He added: "They have got into Europe so many times in recent years and Alex Ferguson must be sick of reading about the 1968 side."

Not only was Best less than complimentary about his former club, but he criticised the state of football in general. "Rule changes have made it a game for softies," he said. "If you're telling someone you can't tackle it's ridiculous and stupid, unbelievable in fact. The physical side of the game has now all but gone."

Best no longer plays football following a knee operation but joked he was "thinking of making a comeback now you don't have to tackle and be tackled".

Best was also not enamoured with what he described as "the money side of the game". He said: "It has gone beyond belief. Players are being signed up for huge packages and clubs are paying pounds 20m for players who just can't play."

Equally well known as a hell-raiser during his halcyon days, Best conceded: "Players like Ryan Giggs and David Beckham are protected by their clubs nowadays and are less likely to ruin their careers through outside influences."

The only positive side to the current state of football, according to Best, is "the introduction of the Premier League, the influx of television money and the exposure given which has started to heighten the presence of the game".