The war of words
Verbal sparring is part of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger's relationship. Here are their key quotes.
Last Updated: 05/05/09 8:11am
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger will resume their rivalry when Manchester United and Arsenal lock horns in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final clash.
The fixture has historically delivered its fair share of memorable moments, many of those coming in the 13 years since Wenger took up the reins in north London.
In that time Ferguson and Wenger have met 38 times in competitive action, with the pair locked at 15 wins each.
More often than not, however, the rivalry has spilled over into verbal sparring, with neither manager afraid to speak up in defence of their respective clubs and players.
And although there are now signs of an entente cordialle between the pair, we recall some of the pair's memorable quotations.
WENGER ON FERGUSON
"Never again will I speak about that man." - Wenger attempts to step away from the feud with Ferguson which erupted after a fiery league clash in October 2004.
"I'm ready to take the blame for all the problems of English football if that is what he wants." - Wenger responds after Ferguson questions Arsenal's lack of homegrown players.
"Ferguson should calm down. Maybe it would have been better if he had put us against a wall and shot us." - more fallout from the testy October 2004 encounter.
"Ferguson's out of order. He has lost all sense of reality. He is going out looking for a confrontation, then asking the person he is confronting to apologise. He's pushed the cork in a bit far this time and lost a lot of credibility by saying what he said." - more bickering from January 2005.
"When we meet in airports we don't fight. Those meetings are even funny." - Wenger lifts the lid on a more cordial relationship with Ferguson.
"(The rivalry) dropped off for two years because we were not good enough. But I missed it greatly. This fixture is about tradition because in the last 10 years a lot of these games were the decider for the league championship" - Wenger laments the cooling of the competition with Ferguson in recent seasons.
FERGUSON ON WENGER
"They say he's an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I've got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages." - Ferguson plays down Wenger's linguistic dexterity in 2003.
"It's certainly not wrong that you should be seen to have a proportion of home-based players. I totally agree with that. But it would be a problem for a club like Arsenal." - Ferguson has a sly dig at Arsenal's foreign policy when questioned about Fifa's 'six-plus-five' proposal.
"He's a novice - he should keep his opinions to Japanese football." - Ferguson sticks the knife in during the early days of Wenger's Arsenal tenure.
"Their behaviour was the worst thing I have seen in this sport. They got off scot-free." - more aggro from the 2004/05 season.
"In the tunnel Wenger was criticising my players, calling them cheats, so I told him to leave them alone and behave himself. He ran at me with hands raised saying 'what do you want to do about it?' It's a disgrace, but I don't expect Wenger to ever apologise, he's that type of person." - Ferguson really gets stuck into Wenger in January 2005.
"Arsene Wenger disappoints me when he is reluctant to give Manchester United credit for what we have achieved. When Arsenal captured the Double in 1998 I held my hands up and praised them unreservedly... I suppose I will just have to accept that, between Old Trafford and Highbury, appreciation is pretty much a one-way street." - Ferguson lets his pen to do the talking in his autobiography, 'Managing My Life', in 2000.