Rio Ferdinand has recalled the moment Sir Alex Ferguson informed the players of his impending retirement and thanked the boss for allowing him to manage his own fitness routine.
Sir Alex's man-management is legendary and the experienced defender believes the Scot's approach has enabled him to remain at the top of his game, even earning a place in the PFA Team of the Season.
The centre-back realises he will have to start afresh with new man David Moyes in 2013/2014 but believes he has plenty still to offer at Old Trafford after announcing his international retirement. As everybody still comes to terms with Sir Alex's exit, MUTV spoke exclusively to Ferdinand about the hectic spell.
"We came in and there was a notice on the board to say there was a meeting," Ferdinand revealed. "Everyone was thinking there were rumours in the paper that the manager is going to leave but we're a bit like: 'There's no chance he'll be leaving. There are too many good things going on at the club and what's going to happen in the next couple of years because of the squad he's building'.
"Then he broke the news and the most I remember from it was that it was dead quiet in the room. Even when he left, there was real mad silence and I think that's just a combination of disappointment and respect as well for the manager's decision.
"For what he's done for the club, for us as individuals and as a team, you've got to respect his decision. He's been in the game for a long time, he knows what he's doing and I think he deserves a rest."
Sir Alex has put his trust in Ferdinand to manage his fitness after having to shrug off a niggling back problem that had threatened to limit his involvement.
"I think he puts it on you and other members of staff, the sports science department and physios, to try and work out the way to manage yourself," said the 34-year-old. "Giving you that responsibility.