Juan Sebastian Veron: I should never have left Manchester United for Chelsea
Juan Sebastian Veron admits he should never have left Manchester United for Chelsea after reflecting on his time at Old Trafford, despite playing just 82 games for the club following a big-money move.
Veron was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Italian side Lazio in £28m deal in 2001, but after initially impressing, he struggled for consistency in the Premier League as he found the English style of football much tougher than in Italy.
Veron struggled with injury and form during his three years with United and was eventually sold for half his transfer fee when Chelsea paid £14m for him in 2004, but the former Argentina international has admitted that he wishes he did not leave United due to the friendly atmosphere among the players.
“I feel I started well in the league games" Veron was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News. "The pre-season preparation was very different to Italy, where we’d do all the running pre-season. In England, there was running every day.
“I liked the atmosphere in training and the lads were great, people like Ryan Giggs was kind to me. But I found the football hard to adjust to and there were so many games throughout the year.
“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.”
Having saved his best performances for Europe when United played in the Champions League, Veron was at a loss to explain why the continental competition appeared to bring the best out of him.
“I don’t know how to explain that,” Veron added. “If I had one frustration it was that I had highs and lows every season. I was never at a high level throughout the whole season. But I should have stayed at United and not left.”
Veron’s reasoning for joining United in the first place can be credited to his father, Juan Ramon Veron, after he played and scored against the English club in the 1968 Intercontinental Cup final.
“I knew United was a great club, my dad had told me about Best, Law and Charlton from when he played against them in the ’68 Intercontinental Cup final," Veron said.
“I saw the Estudiantes crest (in the Old Trafford museum) with my dad’s face as a cartoon. That was emotional. I felt like I was walking in the footsteps of my father.”
Veron would make just seven Premier League appearances for Chelsea after leaving Unied, and he spent the 2005/06 season with Italian side Inter Milan before returning to Argentina and his childhood club Estudiantes.
Independent News Service