Since his latest literary effusion was published, Alex Ferguson's contention that he has only managed four world class players has been picked over intensely.
The selection of Cantona, a player who shone in English football in the mid-1990s but never got a decent run going in Europe, as well as the omission of Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel caused some quizzical looks.
It was suggested that Ferguson had created another category which world players must tick to earn the title - namely, not falling out with Alex Ferguson.
In an interview with Sirius XM FC, Ferguson clarified his comments and admits his own bias towards attacking players in these matters:
Well that’s the area in which the press have not given it the proper publication, the proper reason for saying this.
If you look at the time I was at for United for 27 years, I had some fantastic players, some great players. I never said those players were not great, they were fantastic. But in the context in my opinion, it was a qualified opinion, that some players make a difference, and that’s what I judged.
Eric Cantona, when he came into the club in 1993 he made a difference. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs played for 20 years in the Premier League, that made a difference to us. And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances, he is a world-class player as everyone knows. Him and [Lionel] Messi the two world-class players.
So I never said any player was rubbish. I said they were all great players. And most importantly, those four players didn’t win the leagues alone, or the cups alone, It was the squad who won the cups, all the teams, they did that perfectly, and I was so proud of them.
The thing about my own take on players, ever since I was a little kid, I was always attracted by the attacking players, centre-forwards, wingers and creative players in the game. And that’s why in the book, I’ve stressed the importance of creative players.
If you look at the Ballon d’Or winners for the last 50 years, only two defensive players have won it. And I question one of those because one was Franz Beckenbauer, I’m not sure he was a defensive player, I think he was more of a creative player. The other was an Italian, [Fabio] Cannavaro, in 2006.
So, I think the general consensus of what great players are, usually falls on the mantle of the creative players who win games. And that’s where the take on those four players come into it, no criticism of any of my players, because you couldn’t criticise those players, they were fantastic.