Manchester United rejected chance to sign Zinedine Zidane out of fear of upsetting Eric Cantona

According to former United chairman Martin Edwards, Sir Alex Ferguson felt there was no room for Zidane and Cantona in his team

Samuel Lovett
Monday 09 October 2017 08:28
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Zinedine Zidane during his days at Juventus
Zinedine Zidane during his days at Juventus

Manchester United passed on the chance to sign Zinedine Zidane because Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t want to upset Eric Cantona, former United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed.

The former France international left Bordeaux for Juventus in the summer of 1996 but was initially subject to interest from United at the time.

However, according to Edwards, Ferguson believed there was no room for Zidane and Cantona in his team and, as a result, opted against making a move for the 1998 World Cup winner.

Edwards told the Manchester United website: "When Zidane was at Bordeaux, Les Kershaw, the chief scout, was telling me we should be interested in him and I mentioned it to Alex.

“Alex said that Eric [Cantona] had also mentioned Zidane to him but Alex felt Zidane played in the same position as Eric.

“Having gone over to France to persuade Eric to re-sign for us, after the Crystal Palace incident [when Cantona was banned for eight months after clashing with a football fan at Selhurst Park in 1995], he felt that, if he had brought Zidane in, it may have affected Eric's position, so he stuck with Eric.”

Zidane went on to spend five years in Turin after joining Juventus where he won two league titles, an Italian Cup and the Intertoto Cup.

He made the switch to Real Madrid in 2001, winning La Liga and the Champions League, before retiring in 2006.

The Frenchman returned to the Bernabeu in 2010 as a special adviser to Real Madrid’s first team.

He was later appointed as head coach of Los Blancos in 2016 with whom he has won back-to-back Champions League titles.

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