Juan Sebastian Veron has suggested that “something had to be changed” for him to succeed at “extraordinary” Manchester United.
Veron became the most expensive signing in Premier League history when he joined Manchester United for £28.1m in summer 2001.
The Argentinean midfielder struggled to settle in England, however, spending two seasons at Old Trafford before joining Chelsea, for whom he only played 14 times.
Veron actually remains the most expensive United signing ever as a percentage of the club’s turnover at the time he joined, but by his own admission was simply not suited to the Premier League.
“No, never,” Veron told FourFourTwo when asked whether he regretted signing. “I signed for Manchester United because I had a passport issue in Italy and thought a change of scenery would be good for my mind.
“Truth be told, I had a pessimistic view about playing in England, as I imagined that life there would be so different to what I was used to: the Latin lifestyle. But I found an extraordinary club. You could hardly find one as well-organised, with so many people willing to help.
“Everything that happened to me there changed my mind [about England]. I had two great years in Manchester, winning the Premier League title, and I’m still in touch with several of the guys I met: Dwight Yorke, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Quinton Fortune, Wes Brown, John O’Shea. I met Gary and Phil Neville again at some point, too.
“I know that people expected a lot from me in England – and I did, let me make that clear. Perhaps it was something related to the characteristics of the players; if the club really needed me, in a position where there were decent options already. To make things work for me, the side – which was doing well – had to be changed.
“If there was one thing that played against me, I’d say it was the physical conditioning. 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.
“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. In Italy I managed to have a more stable spell, but I know that my time in English football wasn’t the best.”