English Premiership

Roa makes startling Man United admission

Carlos Roa (Getty Images)
Carlos Roa (Getty Images)

Former Argentina goalkeeper Carlos Roa says he regrets missing out on the opportunity to join Manchester United.

Roa was one of a number of options explored by the Red Devils side hoping to replace Peter Schmeichel in 1999.

Sir Alex Ferguson went through Mark Bosnich, Raimond van der Gouw, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Roy Carroll and Tim Howard before finally landing on Edwin van der Sar in 2005.

He could have saved an awful lot of trouble by landing Roa when targeting the Mallorca keeper, but the Argentinean’s retirement at 30 to take a religious retreat due to his fear that the world was coming to an end scuppered those plans.

"At that time, I was very attached to religion and bible study. It was a difficult decision to make but at the same time thoughtful – and my family agreed with me," he told the Daily Mirror.

"Certain things happened that will never be known because they are personal, and I could only speak to the most intimate people.

"Many things were said back then out of ignorance and I was branded a thousand bad things.

"The people of the club thought that I was going to go back and that they would recover a lot of money with that transfer that was about to happen.

"Today, I still think that on a ­spiritual level it was a very good decision. But in sporting terms, it wasn’t – because I left football at the best moment of my career.

"I could have progressed a lot, with great contracts and the ­ possibility of playing in England.

"People will never understand it. Back then they drove me crazy, they called me from all sides, and as much as I tried to explain my decision it was very difficult for them to understand."

- TEAMtalk media

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