Football: Pogba's agent hits back at United's legendary boss Ferguson

MILAN (AFP) - Paul Pogba's colourful agent has hit back at Alex Ferguson after being blamed for the French football international's controversial departure from Manchester United.

In his newly-published book Leading, legendary former United manager Ferguson writes he distrusted Mino Raiola "from the moment I met him" and infers the Dutchman was to blame for orchestrating Pogba's departure for Juventus when United "were eager to sign" a one-year renewal.

Pogba quit United in the summer of 2012 after becoming frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities, shocking the club by joining the Turin giants on a free transfer.

He has since become one of the most highly sought-after players in Europe.

Raiola, considered one of football's "super-agents", claimed Ferguson still does not know or understand players like Pogba and hinted that the 22-year-old was not given his chance at Old Trafford because Ferguson did not like his agent.

"Although I am not a Sir, I will behave like one when I'm talking about him (Ferguson)," Raiola was reported as saying on a Gazzetta dello Sport website report.

"As an agent, I try to look after my players' interests. I'm happy for people to criticise me but he still doesn't understand who Pogba really is and that maybe he quit (United) at the right time.

"I understood how he chose his players, and it was nothing to do with their qualities. It was down to how much he liked their agents."

An excerpt from Ferguson's book describes how he disliked Raiola. The 73-year-old Scot also said Raiola "ingratiated" himself with the player in a bid to force his departure.

"There are one or two football agents I simply do not like. And Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba's agent, is one of them," said Ferguson.

"We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign.

"But Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our first meeting was a fiasco.

"He and I were like oil and water. From then on, our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to ingratiate himself with Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus."

Raiola, who also represents on-loan AC Milan star Mario Balotelli and Paris Saint Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahmovic, said Ferguson's claims were wide of the mark.

"His ex-players will tell the truth one day. The facts as he tells them are not true," he said.