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Berbatov>Tevez
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Fergie: Stam Was The Best
Manchester United gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson admits that offloading Jaap Stam in 2001 was a "huge blunder" and insists that the giant Dutchman is one of the best defenders of all time...
Inside the soon-to-be-released book Just Jaap, Sir Alex Ferguson admits that when it comes to defenders, he hasn't found one better than Jaap Stam.

Fergie bought the big Dutchman from PSV Eindhoven in 1998, but moved him on to Lazio three years later to raise funds.

The pair have had a bookish affair, for Stam's 2001 departure was reportedly sparked by Stam's unflattering insider's account of the behind-the-scenes goings-on around Old Trafford, as written in his autobiography 'Head to Head'.

Now, though, Sir Alex is ready to forgive, forget and dole out some major kudos to the 'Dutch Destroyer', whose testimonial is on Saturday, rating him above Nemanja Vidiæ, Alex McLeish, Gary Pallister, Rio Ferdinand, Steve Bruce, Dennis Irwin and every other defender he's coached.

Bad Decision

Unwilling to open old wounds, Ferguson said of allowing Stam's departure: "I sold Jaap to Lazio because of the money that the club could earn. His sudden departure had nothing to do with the publishing of his book.

"As manager I must look after the club's money. Lazio offered a lot of money and I gave into to that - I regret it.

"It was a huge blunder of mine - I don't make them often. Jaap was extremely popular with the fans, but every manager makes a bad decision at some time."

Stam started his career with DOS Kampen, before moving through the ranks in his homeland and winning a PSV switch. After United, he had mixed success, hampered by injuries and illegal steroid use, during stints with Lazio, Milan and Ajax. He retired in the later part of last year.

Paying tribute, Ferguson continued: "I admired in Jaap's game his speed, his enormous power and he had an exceptional sharp tackle. He also had a great mentality.

"He was always focused and he never slacked, even during training. Others could take an example from that. In one-on-one situations he was the best in the world; I have never worked with a better defender than Jaap Stam."
 

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Smeghead Moderator
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Stam was a terrific defender and selling him was a mistake but this creates an interesting debate. Who is the best United defender during the Ferguson era?

I reckon Rio has to be a contender.
 

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Proto-Hipster
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agree Stam is the best defender ever
he is the best at marking and the best at covering
he can handle any type of strikers (and its rare to find a defender like that)
i wish he didnt write that book :(

reddwarf said:
Stam was a terrific defender and selling him was a mistake but this creates an interesting debate. Who is the best United defender during the Ferguson era?

I reckon Rio has to be a contender.
Stam is definitely no. 1 defender in fergie era
and i think bruce is more contender than ferdinand
 

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Centre half in my opinion Rio has proved in the last 2 years that he is the best in the world

At full back, no one will ever better Denis Irwin!!!
 

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stam was out of this world. i think he reached his peak when he was at united and was a massive part in us winning the treble. are back 4 fell apart a couple of years after he and shemichs left. always thought fergie dumped him because he had been taking drugs, and when he returned to italy i heard he did get a short suspention for drug abuse but dont hold me on that. anyways may the legend of jaap stam live on

Yip Jaap, Jaap Stam!
 

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Well, if Sir Alex rates Stam ahead of all the other quality defenders he's worked with, who are we to argue?

Over the years, United have been spoilt in terms of centre-backs. Ferdinand, Stam, Vidic, Bruce, Pallister, and then talking about Fergie, you have to take McLeish and Willie Miller into consideration, hes worked with many classy defenders.

I wouldn't really argue with Stam. During his peak years, he was almost unbeatable.

I remember when Ronaldinho was on his top form, when he was the best player in the World, AC Milan played Stam at RB to man-mark Ronaldinho and for about 65-70 mins Ronaldinho was marked out of the game. Then, Ronaldinho was moved to the right wing, Stam was kept at RB then Ronaldinho started to destroy Milan for the last 20 mins because he was released from Stam. And that was when Stam was about 33/34 years old.

He was an incredible defender, and theres no doubt in my mind he was one of the best ever.
 

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I think that atm Stam has to be regarded as the better CB, but its very close and if Rio maintains his current form he can be called as good if not better than Stam.
 

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selling stam was fergies worst mistake thats for sure ,but i think pallister was utds best defender from fergies era ,pallys only weakness was he was so laid back he seemed not to care ,but on the field he was awesome until his troublesome back slowed him down ,but what top service he gave.
 

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TheManc said:
I think that atm Stam has to be regarded as the better CB, but its very close and if Rio maintains his current form he can be called as good if not better than Stam.
Rio better than Stam no way
Rio can handle fast mid tall defenders like torres easily and he kills this type of strikers
but he cant handle drogba type strikers perfectly
while Stam is able to handle any kind of strikers perfectly
imo Stam is one of the best defender central defenders in football history
Stam is Vidic and Ferdinand in one player
 

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Keen on Fella's
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stam was a class act he was sorely missed when he was prematurely shown the door.
fair play to fergie it takes a big man to own up to his mistakes.
it is too hard for me to pick the best cb of fergies era.
i would love to have seen paul mcgrath in his prime at OT. he was immense for villa.
 

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I seem to remember a long time ago Fergie admitting the same kind of mistake over letting Kevin Moran leave the club . I know Moran was not as young as Jaap when he left but the two gave their all when they pulled on a United jersey.
 

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eoininho said:
Centre half in my opinion Rio has proved in the last 2 years that he is the best in the world

At full back, no one will ever better Denis Irwin!!!
I agree with the 1st line. Irwin was truly wonderful but Evra is not far off imo.
 
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