Manchester United flop Massimo Taibi claims Sir Alex Ferguson 'begged' him to stay
Not sure there were many fans begging him to stay at the time
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi, best known for letting the ball roll through his legs against Southampton, has claimed Sir Alex Ferguson "begged" him to stay at the club.
Taibi only stayed at United for one season, leaving in 2000 after playing just four times, but has said he regrets leaving the club so soon after joining.
Speaking exclusively to AmericanGambler.com, the Italian said: "As well as being technically great, the players at United were great human beings - truly extraordinary people."
"They took me in so well and even now, 20 years later, I still live with the regret of having left in December due to family problems. I immediately regretted it.
"I should have stayed and worked on my family problems in England; and it’s the biggest regret of my footballing career because it was an amazing environment, team and technical level."
Explaining why he left the club, he said: "It was 100% my decision to leave Manchester United. I had a four-year contract. I remember, for example, Teddy Sheringham who knew I had a serious family issue, asked me to stay.
"Even Sir Alex Ferguson begged me to wait, to go back to Italy for two weeks to try to resolve the issues and then come back to Manchester.
"The team had to go to Brazil for the Club World Cup and he said to me: ‘You don’t need to come with us. Stay and take the time to resolve your family issues and you re-join the team when we get back’.
"But in that moment, my family issues were just too big, so I decided that I had to leave - and that was my mistake, because Ferguson and my teammates helped me throughout my issue. In Italy, two weeks of holiday with that kind of human consideration that Sir Alex offered me, just doesn’t exist. I was just too impulsive.
"I realised soon after that I would not have been able to resolve my issues however, and it would have been just the same if I had stayed in England, but it was too late. It’s the only football regret I had."
Taibi is keen to dispel the myth that still follows him around after a high profile mistake, which many believe to be the reason he left after one year.
"So much false stuff was written about me: that I was kicked out, that I was the worst goalkeeper in English football history, even though I was the best player on the pitch in my first two matches.
"Yes, the next two weren’t great, but let’s be honest, this can happen to anybody."