Juan Sebastian Veron has explained why he struggled at Manchester United, but also why he should never have left.
Veron joined United in July 2001, signing from Italian side Lazio for nearly £30million on a five-year contract.
The one-time most expensive player in English football struggled at Old Trafford however, scoring just 11 goals in 82 games and failing to adapt, before leaving to join rivals Chelsea in 2003.
Speaking to United’s official website, Veron has revealed that he struggled due to the constant changing of his midfield partners and systems, but also says that he should never have left the club.
“Sometimes I played with [Paul] Scholes and [Roy] Keane,” Veron said. “Sometimes in a 4-4-2 with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. The system varied, but I should have stayed at United and not left.
“Games were intense for 90 minutes. In Italy, it was more tactical and about closing down the games. In England, the games were more open, the ball came back and forward. It was more physical too. The difference between, say United and Aston Villa and Lazio and a smaller team, was smaller.”
Veron, now president of former club Estudiantes in Argentina, says that the change in lifestyle was also difficult to adjust to.
“It was a big change of culture for us,” he said. “We’d been happy living in Italy, but the people in Manchester helped us adjust. The best thing was the people, in the club, in the street. We lived in Hale.
“It was tranquil, there was a small forest nearby, and we liked it. Roy Keane – the captain and a top player in a group where standards were high – lived near me.
“We adjusted to the weather, but not the food, that was more difficult. I couldn’t believe the meat people had for breakfast and eating your evening meal at 5pm was strange, but we found some nice restaurants.
“There were people in the dressing room who spoke Italian and Spanish. Mikael Silvestre spoke Italian, Laurent Blanc too. Quinton Fortune spoke Spanish, while Diego Forlan would arrive and he spoke Spanish.
“And El Mister [Ferguson] tried to speak Spanish! People at Carrington always had a word for me in Spanish.