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‘It was stupid’: European Cup winner regrets decision to snub Man Utd move

European Cup winner Darko Pancev has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to bring him to Manchester United during the 1992/93 season.

Pancev was one of the most-sought forwards during his time at Red Star Belgrade. He scored 97 goals in three years and won six trophies including the 1990/91 European Cup.

He finished as the joint Ballon d’Or runner-up in 1991 and in the following year, he made the switch to Inter in a deal worth €12 million which was a joint-record fee at the time.

Pancev struggled during his three seasons with the Serie A outfit where he spent a year away on loan. He was never the same player and retired at the age of just 31 in 1997.

Speaking to Sport Buzzer, Pancev said that he was very sought after at the time and he chose the wrong club. He added that he received an offer from Sir Alex within months of joining Inter, but he was stupid to turn him down to prove himself in the Italian top-flight.

He said: “I was very sought after at the time and had many offers, but unfortunately I chose the wrong club. Inter had an average team back then, in the shadow of AC Milan. I also had huge differences of opinion with the coach at the time.”

“Nevertheless, in the winter I received an offer from Sir Alex Ferguson, who wanted to bring me to Manchester United. But I didn’t follow the call because I wanted to prove to the Italians that I could make it in Serie A. In hindsight I have to admit it was stupid!”

Pancev’s decision to snub Sir Alex and United was a blessing in disguise in the end. In November 1992, the club signed Eric Cantona from Leeds United for a mere £1.2m.

The rest is history. The Frenchman was a huge hit for the Red Devils with 82 goals and 62 assists from 185 appearances. He won nine trophies including four league titles.

Cantona called time on his career before his 31st birthday, but made a big mark on the club’s history. Pancev may have had a similar influence, had he opted to join the club.

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