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European papers hail 'legend' Ferguson

The announcement of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement as Manchester United manager has caused raised eyebrows not just in Britain but around Europe, with Spanish daily El Pais saluting the 'End of a legendary career'.

The 71-year-old revealed on Wednesday morning he will step down at the end of the season after a trophy-laden 26-year reign, with the European press quick to respond.

The headline on the website of French sports daily L'Equipe reads 'Au revoir, Sir Alex', before reporting: "The legendary Manchester United manager has decided to leave his role. At the age of 71, after more than 26 years on the bench of the Red Devils, the Scot will step down at the height of his glory."

Spanish websites Marca goes with simply 'Ferguson retires' on its story, before looking ahead to who might replace the Scot at the Red Devils' helm.

"On the table there are various names," its story reads. "The favourite one seems to be the current coach of Everton, David Moyes, but he is not the only candidate. Jose Mourinho is also in the picture."

Ferguson's departure also made the top stories on the websites of Italian newspapers Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport, the latter declaring: "It's official: Ferguson retires at the end of the season."

In Portugal, Lisbon newspaper Record declared as 'The day Ferguson got tired of winning' before reflecting on how the Scot transformed United into England's most successful club having taken over trailing Liverpool 16-7 in league titles.

Meanwhile, former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted a picture of himself and Ferguson on the day he Manchester United, adding: "Thanks for everything, Boss".

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy also tweeted a picture, saying: "2001-2006, 219 games, 150 goals under the most successful manager in football history. It was a unique privilege."

UEFA president Michel Platini hailed Ferguson as "a true visionary", adding: "His dedication, his attention to detail and his unique eye for talent, as both the manager of Manchester United FC and Aberdeen FC, has brought rich rewards over a 30-year period. He is a true visionary."

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