Former Manchester United full-back Rafael has shed light on his shock at news of Sir Alex Ferguson suffering a brain haemorrhage on Saturday, describing the Scot as a ‘second father’ to him.
The football world was stunned to hear on Saturday that the boss had been admitted to Salford Royal Hospital for emergency surgery, which was described as having gone very well.
It was reported by the Mail on Monday evening that the former boss was “awake and asking about his test results”, although this hasn’t been confirmed by Man United or the BBC.
Speaking on the subject of his former manager, Rafael admitted he was crying when he heard the news and hailed Ferguson as a father figure.
“I was in shock when I heard the news,” he said.
“He is strong, I am sure he will come back, come out strong, I’m sure about that. He helped everyone, he’s a guy with heart and I know everyone who believes in God in praying for him now. God knows everything so I hope he can help him.
“I just have good memories of him, he was like a second dad and I was crying when I heard the news. He’s a young guy, 76, I saw him two years ago and he was fine, he talked normally and when these things happen it’s never good.
“Like I said before, I am sure he will come out.”
Paul Ince summed up Sir Alex perfectly when he admitted that he was “the only person who knew me better than me.”
Other managers like Pep Guardiola master a particular way of playing; other managers like Jose Mourinho master a particular way of winning; others like Jurgen Klopp work on a particular kind of tempo to their play.
Sir Alex, on the other hand, was a master of people. He knew that the key to getting the most out of a player was by getting to the person underneath, to find out what motivates him. And the accolades from former players over the last few are a testament to the driving impact he had on so many careers and lives during his 27 years at Old Trafford.