Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in quotes

Sir Alex Ferguson Photo: PA

Sir Alex Ferguson's trophy-laden reign at Manchester United has been illuminated by his often fiery rhetoric.

From withering put-downs to sparkling praise, the Scot has eye for an apposite phrase and has created a catalogue of memorable quotes.

Here, Press Association Sport's Damian Spellman takes a look at some of the most notable.

On his mission after being appointed to the post:

"My greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that."

On Manchester City's emergence as a Barclays Premier League force:

"There has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and with the spending they have done, they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can't do anything about them."

On Jose Mourinho:

"He was certainly full of it, calling me 'Boss' and 'Big Man' when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper."

On Arsene Wenger:

"They say he's an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I've got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!"

On Rafael Benitez:

"I think he is very concerned about his CV, he refers to it quite a lot."

On his bust-up with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew:

"The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy."

David Beckham suffered a cut forehead following a dressing room incident. Credit: PA

On the infamous incident during which former midfielder David Beckham was struck on the head by a flying boot:

"It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn't happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!"

On the mind games employed by Italian teams:

"When an Italian tells me it's pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen."

On seeing Ryan Giggs as a schoolboy:

"I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind."

On Wayne Rooney's decision to sign a new contract:

"Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in the field."

On Real Madrid's hopes of signing Cristiano Ronaldo:

"Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn't sell them a virus."

On United's dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 1999:

"Football, bloody hell".

On retirement:

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time."