Blackburn Rovers once infamously turned their noses up at the opportunity to sign a young French lad from Bordeaux by the name of Zinedine Zidane because they already had Tim Sherwood in their team.

That story has gone onto become one which has gone down in transfer folklore, much to Rovers' embarrassment. Manchester United, meanwhile, also turned down the mercurial Frenchman, but for a much more acceptable reason.

In a recent interview with United's official website, the club's former chief executive Martin Edwards has revealed that the Red Devils were presented with an opportunity to bring Zidane to Old Trafford from Bordeaux, only the presence of another certain Frenchman stopped the move from happening.

"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.



The enigmatic Frenchman was the reason Alex Ferguson decided against bringing Zinedine Zidane to Old Trafford. It ended up being a decision that worked out well for everyone. Images: PA

"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."

Following his return from his eight month suspension, Cantona would once again prove his importance to Ferguson and United by leading them to back-to-back Premier League titles, including a domestic double in the 1995/96 season in which he scored the dramatic late winner in the FA Cup final against Liverpool.

Zidane, meanwhile, would move to Juventus, evolving into one of the greatest players the world has ever seen in the process, before moving to Real Madrid in 2001 for a then world record breaking fee of £47 million.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane

Zidane would move to Juve and lift two Serie A titles with the Bianconeri. Image: PA

The Frenchman would fire Los Blancos to their ninth Champions League victory in his debut season before lifting the La Liga title a year later. He has since led Real to their 11th and 12th European Cups as well as last season's Spanish league title, as manager.

So, all in all, Alex Ferguson's decision to leave Zidane in Bordeaux proved to be the right choice for everyone involved.


Featured Image Credit: PA

Joe Baiamonte

Northerner. Assistant Editor of SPORTbible. Studied Journalism and Broadcasting in a portakabin on a car park of Salford University for three years. Believes football peaked with Serie A in the '90s and strong-arms pro wrestling references into as many articles as possible. Neymar once took 50 euros off me during a game of poker.

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