Marseille and Argentina left-back Gabriel Heinze has spoken of his regret at the manner in which he left Manchester United in the summer of 2007 to join Spanish giants Real Madrid.
In the build-up to his side's Champions League last 16 first leg tie with the Red Devils, Heinze conceded the animosity that resulted between himself and Sir Alex Ferguson due to his yearning for a transfer was one of the few regrets of his career.
Friction between the two escalated due to Heinze’s fondness for a move to Liverpool; a move that Ferguson prevented from materialising.
Attempting to convey a method to his madness, Heinze told ESPNsoccernet: "I'm impulsive and strong-willed and this has got me into trouble at times, which was the case at the time when I left United."
Reflecting on Ferguson’s affect on his career, Heinze continued: "It is easy to see that Ferguson was a major influence on my career, in a positive way. I thought my mind was set to be a winner before moving to United, but I had only completed part of the journey.
"Sir Alex makes every player he comes into contact with so much more driven and committed. He demands that his players dig as deep for the cause and I'm sorry that we fell out in the final days because I still have so much respect for him."
Looking ahead to the two-legged affair, Heinze already has his sights set on the second leg at Old Trafford.
"I cannot wait for the chance to go back onto the pitch at Old Trafford because this is the most special club of all. For me Old Trafford is also a very human and warm place."
Heinze was an ever-present in the Marseille defence that conceded only three goals in the group stage and eased into the knockout stage of the Champions League.
By Killian Woodscomments