Mikael Silvestre played 361 games and scored 10 goals for United between 1999 and 2008. Here, the versatile French defender reflects on his Old Trafford career...
My transfer: I was away with France Under 21s – we had two games, Ukraine and Albania. I spoke to Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier as well as Sir Alex Ferguson but United had just won the Treble so it was an easy choice for me to make! I was picked up by Sir Alex at the airport and he drove me to my hotel, the Marriott at Worsley, and we had a chat there. I had spoken to him on the phone before but it was easier for me to talk face to face as my English wasn’t so good. Or should I say, my Scottish!
My debut: After talking to both United and Liverpool, I had no idea I’d make my debut at Anfield. I hadn’t looked at the schedule! I came over on Thursday night, signed on Friday morning, trained, and then played early on Saturday. I didn’t have time to think about anything but it was good, even if the Liverpool fans booed me for choosing United. It was a great game, but I don’t remember much apart from the feeling at the end, knowing we’d won [3-2].
Favourite game: It was when I scored two goals against Liverpool at Old Trafford, when Rio Ferdinand came back after his suspension. We won 2-1 and it was the only time I scored a double for United. It wasn’t my best game defensively, even though Liverpool only scored through an own goal by John O’Shea, but I was inspired at the other end that day in terms of attacking at corners. I was in the right place at the right time, twice, and it was a wonderful night for me.
Favourite goal: It was probably my winning goal against Leeds at Old Trafford [in March 2003], that was a really important one. It was towards the end of the game [79th minute] and I managed to get on the end of David Beckham’s free-kick to make the final score 2-1.
Toughest opponent: As a centre-back, I would say it’s between Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand. They were heavy, physical strikers and were good in the air. As a left-back, I had some trouble with Keith Gillespie. I didn’t