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Oct, 28, 2008

Sir Alex slams Blatter's "ridiculous statements"

Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out at Sepp Blatter and suggested he could be "too old" to be president of FIFA and has claimed that power could be going to his head like African dictators. It stems from Blatter's remarks which likened United's treatment of Cristiano Ronaldo, refusing to sell him to Real Madrid, as well as a series of other surprising statements. Blatter said United's decision to reject Real's advances against the player's wishes was like "modern slavery"' which angered the United boss.

And Sir Alex also claimed that the only reason Real signed Gabriel Heinze in August 2007 was to act as a lure to Ronaldo.

In an interview with GQ Magazine published in The Times, Ferguson said: "I think Sepp Blatter is in danger...or has reached a point now where he is being mocked within the game.

"Whether he is getting too old, I don't know. But things can happen to people in power. Look at some of the despots in Africa.''

While denying he was likening Blatter to the likes of Robert Mugabe, he said: "That would be ridiculous. All I'm saying is that, from a position of great power, he has uttered so many ridiculous statements that he is in danger of seriously damaging his credibility.

"So when he came out with that stuff it created a furore and rightly so, the year after the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.''

The Manchester United boss also revealed he had been expecting Real to target Ronaldo following their move for Gabriel Heinze a year before.

"It was different for me because I knew it was coming, so I wasn't surprised. When we sold Gabriel Heinze to Real Madrid we knew it was going to happen because Ronaldo was very close to Heinze.

"I knew what they were doing. I don't believe they were interested in Heinze - good player though he is. The end game was to get Ronaldo.

"What made it really obscene was that Madrid, as General Franco's club, had a history of being able to get whoever and whatever they wanted, before democracy came to Spain.''

Sir Alex Ferguson has also dismissed Peter Kenyon's defection to Chelsea in 2003 by insisting it was a blessing in disguise.

Kenyon replaced Martin Edwards as chief executive of Manchester United in

Ferguson said: "No. Definitely not. Peter Kenyon? He wasn't a loss. The best thing that has happened recently has been David Gill.''

Kenyon was pictured wearing a runners-up medal at the Champions League final in Moscow earlier this year after the Red Devils had edged the penalty shoot-out. In contrast, Sir Bobby Charlton refused to wear a winners' medal.

Ferguson continued: "Charlton was saying: 'look, this is not my night. This is the players' night'. There would have been a lot of understanding if he had worn the medal because, 50 years on from the Busby Babes, he had every right.

"But he was thinking of the players and the football club. And that is Bobby Charlton.''

The Scot is set to retire in the next couple of years and he admits it is a daunting prospect although he is confident there will be a smooth transition.

"There will be no problem,'' the 66-year-old went on. "The foundation is here. The morale is here. I am not responsible for everything.

"It's a funny thing, though; the older I get, the more frightened I get of retiring. But there will come a time when I clear my desk and someone will take over.

"I hope and expect they will be a formidable person. Because this job, believe me, is not easy.''

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