Legendary manager Fabio Capello has revealed he was very close to replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Ferguson claimed ahead of the 2001/02 season he planned to leave the club and retire from the game, stating: “I will be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season and that is it.”
The former Aberdeen boss had a dramatic change of heart and went on to manage the club for a further 11 years, continuing his incredibly successful spell in charge at Old Trafford.
However, United had already met with a potential successor prior to learning of his intentions to remain, and Capello revealed during an interview with Four Four Two he met with representatives of the Old Trafford club, who had flown out to Rome to meet him with regards to the position.
He said: “It was really close – that is the truth. I can’t deny that I would have loved to train Manchester United.
“After winning Serie A with Roma in 2001, I spoke to representatives who came to visit me in Rome, but we couldn’t sign anything because Sir Alex decided not to retire in the end!
“He phoned me a few days later to apologise because his wife was trying to convince him to leave, but it was a friendly conversation and I told him that nothing was wrong.”
Capello was much coveted at the time, having just guided Roma to their first Italian title in 18 years. The Serie A side are yet to win the competition since and recently turned to Jose Mourinho to revive their faltering prospects.
Mourinho was given the boot by Tottenham in mid April as Spurs fell away from the top four hunt after months of turgid performances which also saw them exit the Europa League in embarrassing fashion, though the former Chelsea boss did enjoy arguably the best managerial stint of his career in Italy when he guided Inter to a treble in 2009/10.