Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised the European Super League, insisting that the breakaway competition would have "killed the dreams of every team to succeed".
United were one of the 12 founders of the rebel league, alongside the Premier League's "Big Six" - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham - and clubs from other top European leagues, including, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Milan, Juventus, and Real Madrid.
And while the plans for the breakaway league fell apart, Ferguson slammed the decision and cited his Cup Winners Cup triumph with Aberdeen as evidence of how damaging the removal of meritocracy in the sport would be.
He told BBC Sport: "As a player I played in European football for Rangers and Dunfermline. And then as a manager I took a provincial club, Aberdeen, and beat Real Madrid in the (1983 Cup Winners’ Cup) final in Gothenburg.
"That is a provincial club fulfilling their dream. Every club should have that dream to achieve what Aberdeen did. You cannot ever forget that the real reason for football was that the smallest guy can climb to the top of Everest, and that’s the best way I can put that. We can’t do without that, really."
Ferguson also added that he still holds the right attributes to be a successful manager in the modern game, but admitted that the players today are no longer the “strong” characters he had under his charge. He said: "I think I had something in me that was bound to get me somewhere in life. I’m not being boastful, but I think I had that personality to do well, the drive and the hunger and the energy. Even when I got into my ’60s I wanted the players to really see my energy.
“My experience in the last few years at United would reflect the fact that they are more fragile, they need more care. The players I inherited at Aberdeen and Manchester United were strong, were powerful, and it’s changed because it’s become a more protective life nowadays. I was very lucky to inherit the kind of players that I did in my earlier days.”