Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography: The quotes you need to read

Ferguson's new book is released today. Photo: ITV News

On David Beckham

On a changing room bust-up in which an angry Ferguson kicked a boot which hit Beckham above the eye:

"In public an Alice band highlighted the damage inflicted by the boot. I was in those days that I told the board David had to go."

"David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. There is no doubt about that in my mind."

"When Beckham moved to America to join LA Galaxy, I believe he began to realise he had surrendered part of his career."

"I think he's a wonderful boy. But you should never surrender what you're good at."

"David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous."

Beckham's cut above his left eye was visible after a dressing room altercation with his manager. Credit: Eamonn and James Clarke/Empics

On Wayne Rooney

Before Rooney's transfer from Everton:

"David Moyes was giving me the eyes. For a minute I thought it was a get-up, a performance."

"The reports at our academy were always glowing and the club tried to acquire him at 14, when there is a loophole...that allows you to sign a boy from another academy. But Wayne wanted to stay at Everton."

After the transfer:

"He would rage in the dressing room when I picked him out for criticism. His eyes would burn, as if he wanted to knock my lights out."

"Coleen, his wife, had her head screwed on. She always struck me as a stabilising force."

"Wayne needed to be careful. He has great qualities about him but they could be swallowed up by a lack of fitness."

On 2010 contract negotiations:

"Wayne said that we should have pursued Mesut Ozil, who had joined Real Madrid from Werder Bremen. My reply was that it was none of his business."

On an alleged transfer request in summer 2013:

"I left him to discuss his future with David Moyes, hoping to see many more great performances from him at Old Trafford."

"Wayne asked away because he felt he was playing out of position."

Ferguson signed Rooney in 2004 when the striker was aged 18. Credit: PA

On Jose Mourinho

In 2004:

"What a cheeky young sod, I thought, as I watched him entertain the press with richly quotable material."

His personality:

"Jose was one of those guys on a surfboard who can stay longer on the wave than anyone else."

Post-match wine tradition:

"The next time he appeared at Old Trafford, he brough a bottle of his own wine, a Barca-Velha, and that started a tradition. The wine at Chelsea was awful, which I could never understand."

On Cristiano Ronaldo

"Cristiano Ronaldo was the most gifted player I managed. He surpassed all the other great ones I coached at United."

"When the possibility of him leaving edged towards being a probability, I reached a gentleman's agreement with him."

"His agent Jorge Mendes is, I should say, the best agent I dealt with, without a doubt."

Ferguson with Ronaldo in 2009. Credit: PA

On Roy Keane

"I believe Roy Keane's behaviour pattern changed when he realised he was no longer the Roy Keane of old."

"The hardest point of Roy's body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine."

On England

On rejecting two offers to manage England:

"There was no way I could contemplate that. It wasn't a bed of nails I was ever tempted to lie on."

On politics

"Being a believer in the Labour Party and socialist principles is one thing, but becoming an active member was another. I just didn't have the time."

"I've always been on the left of the party, which explains my high opinion of Gordon Brown's work."

"I was closer to Brown in principle but accept that Blair's more populist way was the route to get elected."

His advice to Tony Blair:

"The most important thing in my job is control. The minute they threaten your control, you have to get rid of them."

On Arsene Wenger

"By the end, Arsene and I were on very friendly terms. We had survived together and respected each other's efforts to play good football. But we had conflicts down the years."

On the infamous pizza-throwing incident:

"I rushed out to say to Arsene: 'You leave my players alone.' ... He was livid ... The next thing I knew I had pizza all over me ... They say it was Cesc Fabregas who threw the pizza at me, but to this day, I have no idea who the culprit was."

Wenger and Ferguson lock horns again in 2004. Credit: PA

On Robin van Persie

"It took us a while to understand just how good Robin van Persie is...even Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick...had trouble at first picking up up the speed of his movements."

On Nemanja Vidic

On fears Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic would be called up to the army:

"Vidic was a dour, uncompromising sod...in 2009 he came to me to say he might be getting called up.

"'What do you mean, called up?' I said, alarmed.

"'Kosovo. I am going,' he said. 'It's my duty.'

"He had the eyes for it."

Ferguson signed Vidic in 2006. Credit: PA