Lizarazu: Fergie wanted to bring me to Man United, but Bayern Munich said no

Bixente Lizarazu

Bixente Lizarazu has told FourFourTwo that Bayern Munich prevented him from becoming a Manchester United player at the beginning of the 21st century.

The World Cup-winning left-back made 174 league appearances over two spells with the Bavarians, winning six league titles and the 2000/01 Champions League.

But the 47-year-old, who became a European jiu-jitsu champion after hanging up his football boots, has revealed he did have a chance to play in the Premier League.

Speaking exclusively in the August 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, the former Bordeaux defender says: “I had the chance, I think in about 2001 or 2002, to go to Manchester United, but it stopped very quickly as Bayern Munich said no.

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

“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 with them. I was very happy in Munich, but Manchester United did try.”

Portraits: Richard Cannon

Injury ruled Lizarazu out of the 1999 Champions League Final against United in Barcelona, where the Red Devils scored twice in injury time to pinch the cup.

However, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men would get their hands on the trophy two years later – beating Valencia on penalties in Milan – and Lizarazu says the terrible pain of defeat against United helped to push them onto victory at the San Siro.

It was so terrible to see all of my team-mates in that state. That day gave us the power to go and win the Champions League two years later, I'm very sure about it

“We were the better team in that [1999] final,” he continues. “I couldn’t do anything apart from go out onto the pitch after the game and help my friends who were crying.

“It was so terrible to see all of my team-mates in that state. That day gave us the power to go and win the Champions League two years later, I’m very sure about it. We took all of the frustration from the 1999 final and then used it to help us beat Valencia.”

Read the full interview with Bixente Lizarazu in the August 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which features an exclusive interview with Atletico Madrid frontman Antoine Griezmann about his on-off move to Manchester United. Also this month, we hit the campaign trail with World Cup winner-turned-senator Romario, attempt to impress LA Galaxy scouts at an open trial, recall the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge and Dallas Tornado’s mental world tour, chat to Ashley Cole about becoming a coach at Chelsea, and celebrate Serie A during the 1990s. Order it now, and then subscribe!