Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi, a man often still cruelly derided as Sir Alex Ferguson's worst ever signing, has lifted the lid on the infamous mistake that ensures he is remembered by fans for all the wrong reasons.


Having been Man of the Match on his United debut against Liverpool, and then again against Wimbledon in his second appearance, Taibi was vilified when a tame Matt Le Tissier shot dribbled through his grasp in a home draw with struggling Southampton in September 1999.


Even 17 years later, the Italian still has no idea how it ended up nestled in the goal behind him.

"I honestly do not remember how that mistake happened," a regretful Taibi explained in an interview with the Manchester Evening News this week.


"Unfortunately, it was a hiccup," he added. "To this day, I do not know how it was even possible. The media were bad but it was part of our job - my team-mates were all wonderful with me. I used to think about it a lot but I don't as much anymore."


Twice previously a Milan player before the £4.5m switch to Old Trafford from Venezia, Taibi only played once more for United after that - enduring a horror show in a 5-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge, a game in which £10m flop Chris Sutton scored his only goal for Chelsea.

Taibi also spoke of the "pressure" that was on him to replace the legendary Peter Schmeichel, but he will always treasure his United debut against Liverpool. It was "a great memory" and a "beautiful game", he said.


There is, however, one thing that Taibi, now 46 years of age and retired since 2009 after spells with Reggina, Atalanta, Torino and Ascoli, still thinks could have made all the difference to his United career - being able to play Champions League football.


He wasn't registered in time to be included the European squad submitted to UEFA earlier that season, and so while he was the getting the nod in domestic games, it was Raimond van der Gouw who donned the gloves in the Champions League instead.

Manchester United's goalkeeper Massimo Taibi lets

"I'm sure it would have changed everything because I could play again right away and I could have done better with that continuity in the team," Taibi said of his lost opportunity.


"I'm happy with my career, but I was sorry that I could not show my potential in England."


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