It has been 24 hours since the world was rocked by the confirmation that Sir Alex Ferguson's near-27-year tenure at Manchester United will come to an end this summer with the legendary manager's retirement.
A big story for all, but even more so for sports editors everywhere as the avalanche of quotes, tributes, reaction pieces and speculation followed. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, we have gathered the thoughts of Eurosport editors across the continent on the end of an era.
Here is a collection of our European colleagues' fondest memories of perhaps the greatest manager in football's long and storied history:
Dirk Adam (Eurosport Germany)
My favourite moment of his career was the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. It was a tremendous match in Barcelona, even for Bayern players and manager Ottmar Hitzfeld. The Germans lost the title in 102 seconds, but on this day Hitzfeld and Ferguson became really good friends. From the drama a friendship arose.
Hussam Barakat (Eurosport Arabia)
For me, also the final against Bayern. I remember how Ferguson remained very strong even when his team was down 0-1 and Bayern were controlling the game very well. Ferguson waited until just before the end to change his plan and attack very heavily, and achieved the victory within two minutes. It was like a camel racing with a horse. Patience against speed.
Artem Butorin (Eurosport Russia)
I was a big fan of David Beckham when I was young and, honestly, I can't say that I understood football as a game but I could see that Becks was a main star of Manchester United. And when that moment with Ferguson, Beckham and the football boot happened, I was totally on the player's side. It's unthinkable to imagine that a coach can behave in such a way against his best player. But that accident is totally what Sir Alex Ferguson was all about. I was able to understand the power of his will years later - that man wants to win so badly.
Maxime Dupuis (Eurosport France)
I don’t have any special memory. There are too many trophies and moments to choose from over 26 years. I’ll remember the man and what he has done for United. It is a global achievement. But if I had to choose something, I would say his famous “hairdryer” or, from a French point of view, his “Scottish flair”, and what he achieved with Eric Cantona.
Liam Happe (British Eurosport)
My favourite memory stands outside of all Fergie’s glorious accomplishments on paper. Mine is his notorious degree of authority. The fact that he is going out on top having seen a host of world-class players leave the club, many of which he probably could have kept if he really wanted to, is a bigger testament to his abilities than any one single trophy or match. He always knew when to be stubborn and when it was time to evolve with the sport. Ruud van Nistelrooy demanding to play in the League Cup final in 2006, only for Ferguson to stick to the fringe players who got them there in the first place, is a great example of that - and for me a defining moment away from the silverware.
Jorge Ordas (Eurosport Spain)
As you said, it’s not only one moment, but a lot of souvenirs. In my opinion, the best was the way he has managed so many different squads and different kinds of players. From Cantona to Beckham, Barthez, van Nistelrooy... All of them knew there was a teacher above them and few players dared to undermine him. If a player did undermine him, that player was punished. It doesn't matter if he's a star or a young boy.
Bartosz Rainka (Eurosport Poland)
In Poland Alex Ferguson will be always remembered for eliminating Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1991. This was the first occasion to see him in Poland as United manager and all fans were really impressed by the performance of his team. Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes and Brian McClair scored goals for the Red Devils, who proved to be a team with a great potential. Thirty-five days later, United won the final against Johan Cruyff's Barcelona - and captured their first European trophy in 23 years.
Onur Saygin (Eurosport Turkey)
"Ha! You can bet I won't go back" - His answer after the 1993 Champions League game against Galatasaray when asked if he was glad to get out of Turkey. He was not good at losing - but that is what makes him the greatest manager of all time. And one more thing: a Turkish journalist asked before the Galatasaray game this year: "Since 1993 what has changed?" Sir Alex answered: "I won [the European Cup] twice."
Piotr Kwiatkowski (Eurosport Poland)
The above quote reminds me of another nice quote. It was before this very same game and after landing in Istanbul where the reception at the airport was hostile. On the plane home, Peter Schmeichel was angry at a load of journalists for unnecessarily scaring his family. United players smiled their way through it, albeit a little nervously. When he was asked the following day about the “riot" at the airport, Ferguson smiled: "You've obviously never seen a Glasgow wedding."
Luca Stacul (Eurosport Italy)
It’s really difficult to select one or two moments. Following the previous offerings, I’d add a quote by Cristiano Ronaldo, whose words explain perfectly how Ferguson has been able, during his United career, to motivate his key players and get the best from them: "After I joined, the manager asked me what number I'd like. I said 28. But Ferguson said 'No, you're going to have No. 7,' and the famous shirt was an extra source of motivation. I was forced to live up to such an honour."
Johan Wennerstrom (Eurosport Sweden)
My favourite moment was recent. Two years ago, when he was suspended due to offensive words about the referee after a game against Chelsea, he simply picked up a large wired phone in the stands and called his assistant - despite the rule which says it’s forbidden to coach the team from there. Fantastic!