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Valverde: Ferguson is a very important person in the world of football

Ernesto Valverde described former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as a "very important person in the world of football" as the Scot recovers in hospital after emergency surgery.

United confirmed on Saturday that Ferguson had undergone a successful operation following a brain haemorrhage.

Figures from across football have been sending messages of support to the 76-year-old, who won 13 Premier League titles at Old Trafford.

And Valverde joined those paying tribute to Ferguson after his 10-man Barcelona side drew 2-2 with Real Madrid in Sunday's Clasico at Camp Nou.

"Ferguson is a very important person in the world of football," Valverde told a post-match news conference.

"What we all hope is that he recovers as soon as possible. 

"I send him my encouragement and those of all the people who accompany me."