Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t known for skipping matches, but the Scotsman made an exception for David de Gea.
On Saturday afternoon, De Gea confirmed that he would be leaving Old Trafford, 12 years since Ferguson signed him for the club.
The 32-year-old arrived at Carrington training centre from Atletico Madrid as a 21-year-old for a fee worth £18.9 million, and the Spaniard has not looked back since.
He made 545 appearances for the Red Devils and kept 190 clean sheets, winning the Premier League, the FA Cup, two League Cups and the Europa League.
Last season, he was awarded the Premier League Golden Glove award, capping off a wonderful career at United.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Ferguson went to extreme lengths to sign De Gea back in 2011.
The former United boss only missed three matches during his managerial career. One was so he could attend his son’s wedding. One was for his brother’s wife’s funeral.
And the other was all about De Gea, with former United coach Eric Steele convinced that he was the right man to replace Edwin van der Sar once he retired.
“I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches,” Steele told the Daily Mail.
“He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea.”
“I joined United in 2008 and, from that moment, we needed to be ready for the day Edwin Van Der Sar retired.
“I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup.
“Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies.”