Laurent Blanc joined United in 2001 after several attempts from Sir Alex to lure him to Old Trafford over the years.
The veteran defender linked up with international colleague and close pal Fabien Barthez in Manchester and initially planned to only stay one season at the club. In an exclusive inteview with the official United magazine, he outlined his reasons for heading to England at such a late stage in his career and admitted he planned to go into coaching. Of course, he'll be in charge of France when they take on Roy Hodgson's England at Euro 2012.
Have you enjoyed your first days at the club?
Very much. Everybody has been very warm to me and made me feel welcome. Also, I have a very good friend here in Fabien [Barthez] and he's helped me settle in.
Has he told you a lot about playing here?
I knew the club before Fabien even came here. I used to come and watch games when Eric [Cantona] played here so I'm quite familiar with it. And, of course, I've played here.
What do you remember about playing against United for Montpellier in 1991?
I remember it well. It was a big game against Manchester and they were a better team than us. That's why they won. We could perhaps have won 2-1 in Manchester but they won well in the return match. They were very good and the atmosphere in the ground was also good, very loud. English supporters are like that. I've played at Old Trafford other times too. I played for France in Euro 96 and in the friendly game for Eric Cantona's team [Munich memorial match in 1998]. It was a fantastic night. The atmosphere and the stadium were tremendous.
Has Fabien shown you around the city?
I've only been here a couple of days and we've taken things very seriously. I know Manchester anyway from when I was here watching Eric play. I know the city centre, the stadium. I know everything! [laughs]