heavy, physical strikers and were good in the air. As a left-back, I had some trouble with Keith Gillespie. I didn’t know anything about him so he was able to surprise me.
The team I wanted to beat most: It would be Liverpool, Leeds or Arsenal – especially Arsenal when they were ‘invincible’ and we ended their unbeaten run at Old Trafford [in 2004/05]. Phil Neville had the game of his life against Patrick Vieira that day and we won 2-0. We beat them by the same score at Old Trafford in the following season, when I set up the first goal for Wayne Rooney.
The best player I played with: There are so many, it’s difficult. Giggs and Scholes who are still here (!), Keane, van Nistelrooy… I feel privileged to have played with them. It doesn’t get any better in football than playing with the best players in the world.
Best friend at United: I had a good relationship with all the players so it’s hard to pick one out. But after leaving the club I was in touch with Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs.
Best memory: It has to be my first trophy. I joined the club in September 1999, and in November we went to Tokyo and beat Palmeiras of Brazil to win the Intercontinental Cup. It was my first major trophy at the club.
Worst memory: It has to be when I was substituted after just 35 minutes against West Ham away. I still remember that one! It was hurtful to be taken off before half-time.
Funniest memory: It was probably when Sir Alex was on the sidelines in a training match. The ball went out of play but we were taking kick-ins instead of throw-ins and I kicked the ball straight at his head! He nearly sent me back to France for that!
My relationship with the fans: We had a great relationship. I was the Frenchman coming after Eric Cantona. Not the same stature obviously but it was always good to have the fans behind my back.