Arsene Wenger took time at the end of his final home match as Arsenal manager to wish his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson a quick recovery following news of his emergency surgery after a brain haemorrhage.
The former Manchester United boss, who won 38 trophies in his 26-and-a-half years at the club, remains in hospital in Salford after it emerged on Saturday evening that he was seriously ill in intensive care.
Wenger, who was presented with a memento to mark his impending departure from the Gunners by the Scot at Old Trafford last weekend, addressed fans on the pitch following his side’s 5-0 Premier League victory over Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
He said: “Before I start, I just want to say, at Arsenal we care and I would like to wish my fellow manager Ferguson well and very quickly.”
From the boss and all of us at Arsenal, get well soon, Sir Alex pic.twitter.com/FVYy2Q4LJF— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 6, 2018
The Frenchman added: “I was with him on the pitch last week, I went to see him in the box after the game on Sunday. One week later, he looked in perfect shape.
“He told me he’s doing a lot of exercise, he looked very happy, but that kind of accident can happen.
The boss has also been discussing Sir Alexâ¦— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 6, 2018
🗣 âI was on the pitch with him last week. He was very happy but anything can happen. We wish him all the best and that he recovers quickly. Heâs a strong man and an optimistic man, too.â
Get well soon, Sir Alex. pic.twitter.com/0n2aJINkQO
“We wish him very well and that he recovers very, very quickly. He’s a strong man and an optimistic man. I got calls last night from Manchester and nobody knew exactly what it is.”
There was no further update on Ferguson’s condition on Sunday, although United thanked the football community for its expressions of concern via their official Twitter account.
Manchester United would like to thank the wider football world for the messages of support following the news that Sir Alex Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 6, 2018
The post said: “Manchester United would like to thank the wider football world for the messages of support following the news that Sir Alex Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening.”
Manchester City coach Brian Kidd, who served as Ferguson’s number two at United between 1991 and 1998, said his former boss was in his thoughts.
📹 Ex-Manchester United number two Brian Kidd on Sir Alex Ferguson: "I can't thank him enough. The opportunity he gave me, I'm forever indebted to him. We wish him all the love in the world." #mcfc #mufc pic.twitter.com/k3DBeHE0PP— Liam Blackburn (@liamblackburn) May 6, 2018
Kidd said: “He’s such an iconic person. There was a really sombre mood yesterday evening and this morning.
“You really think Sir Alex is indestructible. We’ve all been brought up with him. What he did for Manchester United, it’s unreal. And the pressure that he was under every day to produce, it’s phenomenal.
“Obviously all of us at Manchester City, he’s in our prayers and thoughts, with Cathy and the kids. We wish him a speedy, healthy recovery, I hope it’s really quick as well. We send all our love to him. I think that’s everybody.
“I can’t thank him enough, the opportunity he gave me, I’m forever indebted to him. We wish him all the love in the world, a healthy speedy recovery and God bless to him.”
City fans on the pitch with a message for Fergie pic.twitter.com/ZydSIsGdFz— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) May 6, 2018
City boss Pep Guardiola was also among the Premier League managers to put football rivalries to one side and offer his best wishes to Ferguson.
He told Sky Sports ahead of the champions’ 0-0 draw with Huddersfield: “Brian Kidd, who is here now, was with (Sir Alex) for a lot of time, so a big hug and our thoughts are with his wife Cathy and the Manchester United family.
“I was glad to have dinner with him two weeks ago, and hopefully he can recover as quickly as possible.”
Scotland manager Alex McLeish, who played under Ferguson at Aberdeen, said through the Scottish Football Association: “He means the world to me and so many of his other former players, colleagues and opponents.”
"The news about Sir Alex came as a real shock to us all over the weekend. He means the world to me and so many of his other former players, colleagues and opponents. He is in my thoughts and prayers and hope for a speedy recovery."[2/2] pic.twitter.com/TlSFLFudIX— Scottish FA (@ScottishFA) May 6, 2018
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted his shock at the news.
He said after his side’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea: “I met Sir Alex after the first game against Roma (in the Champions League semi-finals). He passed my way. I had a few words with him.
“When I heard it yesterday on the way to London, I really couldn’t believe it. It can happen to all of us.
“He is absolutely – he was last night and will be – in my prayers 100 per cent. I wish him and his family all the best.
“He will be in a good shape again. I’m 100 per cent sure. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.”