In an interview with FourFourTwo, Bixtente Lizarazu claims Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign him whilst he was at Bayern Munich, but the German club were very quick to say no to the Red Devils and block off any potential move.
“I had the chance I think in about 2001 or 2002 to go to Manchester United,” said the former Bayern and Bordeaux defender.
"Alex Ferguson was keen to sign me and United had talks with Bayern, but Bayern said there was no question that I’d be leaving and so I was staying.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was in need of a new left-back at the time to replace the ageing Dennis Irwin who went on to retire in 2004.
Lizarazu’s Champions League experience
Lizarazu went on to talk about the famous 1999 Champions League final against the Red Devils in which he was ruled out due to injury. On the night in Barcelona, goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer crowned United champions of Europe for the first time since 1968.
“We were the better team in that final,” stressed Lizarazu. “I couldn’t do anything apart from go onto the pitch after the game and help my friends who were crying.”
Bayern went on to win the Champions League 2 years later at the San Siro in Milan after beating Valencia on penalties. Lizarazu believes that the pain they all experienced against Manchester United back in 1999 spurred them onto victory. They couldn’t bare having to go home empty handed again. “We took all of the frustration from the 1999 Champions League final to help us beat Valencia,” said Lizarazu.
Was Bayern’s decision a good turnout for all?
Bayern Munich went on to have a lot of success after turning down whatever the offer was from Manchester United. After winning the Champions League in 2001, Bixente Lizarazu went on to win the Bundesliga another two times with Bayern, resulting in a total of 5 Bundesliga medals for the World Cup winning full back.
United also went on to have a lot of success winning the Premier League 3 times in 4 years in the period of 1999-2003, without Lizarazu at left back. Later, they signed Patrice Evra, who went on to have incredible success at the club.