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Man Utd rejected chance to sign a 24-year-old Zidane in 1996 to keep Cantona happy

Alex Ferguson did not want to upset Zidane’s countryman, says former chairman Martin Edwards.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE AT Manchester United? It could have happened, according to the club’s former chairman Martin Edwards.

The France legend made his mark in club football with the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid, winning two Serie A titles, La Liga and a Champions League crown.

But his storied career could have turned out differently had Sir Alex Ferguson not passed up an opportunity to sign him for fear of upsetting United great Eric Cantona.

In 1996, Edwards claims the Red Devils were presented with an opportunity to sign Zidane, then 24, from Bordeaux.

However, Ferguson did not make the move, as Zidane played in the same position as fellow France international Cantona and feared conflict, if he had pursued a deal.

“Zidane and Eric played in the same position and Alex felt if they brought Zidane in it would have upset Eric,” Edwards told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Unfortunately for United, Cantona retired a year later, leaving Edwards to wonder what could have been.

When asked if, looking back, United could have made room for both, Edwards said: ”In hindsight yes, because Eric retired a year later and Zidane was younger so he would have continued it.”

Instead of Manchester, Zidane moved to Juventus in 1996 and enjoyed a stellar career in Italy and Spain, which he has now continued with Madrid as their manager, winning a league title, Copa del Rey and two straight UEFA Champions League crowns.

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