LONDON • Messages of support poured in for former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson yesterday as he fought for his life following emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.
United said in a club statement on Saturday that Ferguson's operation had gone "extremely well", but the 76-year-old would need a period of intensive care to aid his recovery.
According to the Mirror and the Independent, Ferguson reportedly suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which is an uncommon stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.
Considered the most successful manager in the history of British football, Ferguson - who retired five years ago - won 38 major trophies in just over 26 years in charge of the Red Devils, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
It is a measure of the Scot's success on the pitch, and his stature off it that tributes poured in from around the world of sport to wish him a speedy recovery after he underwent surgery at the Salford Royal hospital.
Former United greats David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the first to offer messages of goodwill to their Old Trafford boss.
PRAYING FOR GOOD NEWS
Keep fighting Boss. Sending prayers and love to Cathy (Ferguson's wife) and the whole family.
DAVID BECKHAM , former United player, sending his well-wishes to his former boss
KEEPING HIM IN THEIR PRAYERS
The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery... We are united in our wish to see him make a comfortable, speedy recovery.
MANCHESTER UNITED, issuing a statement on their former manager.
"My thoughts and prayers are with you, my dear friend. Be strong, Boss!" the Real Madrid forward said on his Instagram account as he shared a picture of him and Ferguson during their time together at Old Trafford.
Beckham was part of the famous "Fergie's Fledglings" group, along with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brothers Gary and Phil Neville, that led United to numerous trophies from the mid-1990s, including the historic 1999 treble.
"Keep fighting Boss. Sending prayers and love to Cathy (Ferguson's wife) and the whole family," Beckham wrote on his Instagram account with an old picture of him signing his United youth contract alongside Ferguson.
Past and present United players, including Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and David de Gea also offered messages of support as did United's league rivals Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.
"The thoughts of everyone at LFC are with Sir Alex Ferguson and his family... a great rival but also a great friend who supported this club during its most difficult time," Liverpool said in an club statement.
Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who just last weekend received a commemorative vase by Ferguson before his side's 1-2 loss to United, told the Daily Mail that he was "concerned" but "trusts his strength and character will get him well very quickly".
Ferguson and his family also received well-wishes from clubs all around the world.
Italian Serie A sides AC Milan and Inter Milan, Spanish LaLiga champions Barcelona and Scottish title winners Celtic were among a host of other football clubs, along with the National Basketball Association, to send get-well-soon tweets.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS