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Peter Schmeichel reveals just how close he came to Man United return

Peter Schmeichel nearly made Man United return.

Peter Schmeichel has revealed that he agreed to return to Manchester United just months after leaving the club for Sporting Lisbon.

The Danish goalkeeper was at the centre of one of Man United’s most successful eras, minding the Old Trafford net for eight seasons between 1991 and 1999.

Peter Schmeichel enjoyed glittering Man United career.

While there, he built a reputation as the greatest goalkeeper in the world, helping Man United towards five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the 1999 Uefa Champions League.

The Dane captained the side on that famous night when they won the European Cup in Barcelona but it would be his final act as Man United player, having announced earlier that season that he would be leaving the club.

He signed a two-year contract with Sporting Lisbon but it was a move that he almost instantly regretted, something which was revealed in a Sunday Times article over the weekend.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel on Man United regret.

“Looking back now, mentally, I was not in a place to make good decisions,” Schmeichel says.

“I should have had people around me that I could talk to, that could have said the right things at the right time. Kasper (Peter’s son, the current Leicester City goalkeeper) has such a good team of people.

“I made my decision with the information that I had, with the level of maturity I had. They felt right, even though I know now I should have done something different.”

Fabien Barthez was signed instead.

In the same article, it is revealed that Schmeichel spoke with then-Man United boss Alex Ferguson and they both agreed that he would return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2000.

Mark Bosnich had been signed as a replacement after Schmeichel’s departure but the Australian endured an underwhelming first campaign between the sticks.

After agreeing with Sporting Lisbon bosses that he would be allowed to return to Manchester, Schmeichel picked up the phone to Ferguson multiple times but the Scot didn’t pick up.

The story then takes a tragic twist as, according to the piece written by David Walsh, “in the driveway, one of the family’s two dogs got caught under the wheel of his car and would die from the injuries.

“Eventually, he spoke to Ferguson. The deal was off. United had signed Fabien Barthez.”


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The interview was conducted in order to promote Schmeichel’s upcoming autobiography which is due to be released on September 30th, and is sure be engaging reading for those of a Man United persuasion.

You can read the full Sunday Times piece, via a subscription, here.

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