Alex breaks silence on Espanyol fiasco
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The former Arsenal custodian agreed terms for a switch to La Liga last July, after having completed a season-long loan at Italian outfit Fiorentina.
The Gunners thought they had sealed a é¼1 million deal for the Austrian international but, at the start of the new season, Espanyol attempted to pull out of the transfer claiming they had never officially confirmed it.
Their dramatic U-turn left Manninger without a club, and Fifa have been asked to abitrate in the dispute between the two clubs, with Arsenal still demanding the transfer fee.
Manninger has now come forward to express his disgust at the treatment he received from the Catalan club.
"It's incredible that the club (Espanyol) believe they are not in the wrong," said the 25-year-old.
"I think that very bad things happen in the real world, but in football even more incredible things happen.
"A club should not treat anyone in this manner, not a junior player, and much less an international player."
Manninger was particularly critical of Espanyol director, Josep Lluis Marco, who he claims play-acted to try and extricate the club from its contractual obligations.
"I can't believe what he said to me on my last day at the club. He is a great actor.
"He made a real spectacle and came to me almost in tears.
"He gave me the impression that Espanyol never had the money to pay my transfer and sign me."
However, The Austrian - who won The Double during his time in North London - remains convinced that he will win the legal proceedings he has started against the Spanish club.
"My lawyer has nearly one hundred faxes, documents and photocopied contracts in a dossier.
"It's certain we will win the case.
"Moreover, Arsenal will not sit around with their arms folded, and are preparing with Fifa to make Espanyol pay the one million euros they owe."
The keeper is now attempting to relaunch his career with Italian side Torino, and admits his experience in Spain nearly cost him his future.
"I had options in Scotland, Italy, Germany and England.
"I went to Spain because I saw a good opportunity.
"But Espanyol came close to ending my career."