Fri. Mar 5th, 2021

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Juan Sebastian Veron admits regret at quitting Manchester United for Chelsea

4 min read

Argentina legend Juan Sebastian Veron has admitted his great regret at leaving Manchester United to join Chelsea

The former midfielder arrived at Old Trafford in 2001 having signed for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side from Lazio with a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders. 

But Veron struggled for consistency despite making a bright start at his new club and ended up joining the Blues in 2003.  

Juan Sebastian Veron, pictured here competing with Edgar Davids for the ball during a Champions League game in 2003, admits now that he regrets leaving Manchester United

Juan Sebastian Veron, pictured here competing with Edgar Davids for the ball during a Champions League game in 2003, admits now that he regrets leaving Manchester United

Veron joined Chelsea from United but only made seven appearances for the Blues

Veron joined Chelsea from United but only made seven appearances for the Blues

He opened up on that decision, which he reflects was a mistake, telling FourFourTwo: ‘I felt that going to Chelsea could have been a good chance for me to get a longer sequence of matches, but I shouldn’t have gone there. 

‘I don’t say that because of Chelsea, though. It’s nice to have a club wanting to sign you, excited that you can do something for them. To make an investment like that, the club has to believe in you and trust you.

‘I actually found it tougher to live in London than Manchester because I’m from La Plata, which is quite a small city. I wish I could have stayed at United longer, as I believe I could have done things differently. 

‘If I’d stayed in Manchester, I think I would have had more continuity on the pitch.’

Veron was staunchly defended by Ferguson at United when he came in for criticism, with the manager even telling reporters: ‘He’s a f***ing great player… youse are all f***ing idiots.’

Veron established himself at Lazio and much was expected of him in the Premier League

Veron established himself at Lazio and much was expected of him in the Premier League

But he failed to break into the well established midfield of Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham with any real consistency. 

Given more time to work under Ferguson, Veron feels he could have made the grade but confesses the lack of stability made life tough. 

The new issue of FourFourTwo is out on Wednesday, February 10

The new issue of FourFourTwo is out on Wednesday, February 10

He added: ‘He (Ferguson) was so demanding with everybody. If you couldn’t keep up, it was clear you would have to look elsewhere. He was always forthright with me, but he had my back from day one, which was very much appreciated. 

‘At some points, I wasn’t able to give him everything he expected from me consistently. He got it in a few matches but not in others, and if you want to be a great player, your game has to be stable. I couldn’t deliver it at Old Trafford.’

Veron, now aged 45 and working as sporting director at Estudiantes, believes it was the difference in physicality demanded in training for the Premier League that was his biggest obstacle.

He continued: ‘I was used to the Italian way, which was key for our game, but in England during that time, the physical conditioning was to play games.

Sir Alex Ferguson staunchly defended his signing but it did not work out for him in the end

Sir Alex Ferguson staunchly defended his signing but it did not work out for him in the end

‘I wasn’t used to playing without an intense preparation, and it wasn’t ideal for me in the long term. As we played more matches, my performance levels dropped. I had so many up and downs: a few really good games, but other poor ones. I know that my time in English football wasn’t the best.’  

Veron eventually departed Stamford Bridge in 2007 having made just seven appearances for the first team. 

It was a fall from grace from a player who was regarded as the complete midfielder in Serie A with Lazio.

After his ill-fated spell in the Premier League, Veron returned to Argentina and played for Estudiantes, his boyhood club, with one stint at Brandsen in 2012. 

He retired from playing in 2017 having earned 73 caps for Argentina, scoring nine times for his country on the international stage.  

The midfielder struggled for consistency at Old Trafford and found the physicality intense

The midfielder struggled for consistency at Old Trafford and found the physicality intense

The latest issue of FourFourTwo is on sale on Wednesday and has an in-depth feature on Tottenham and South Korea forward Son Heung-min, while former Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool defender Kolo Toure answers your questions and there are exclusive interviews with Liverpool keeper Alisson and Chelsea defender Thiago Silva for £3 visit: www.magazinesdirect.com/fft/81au

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