Argentina World Cup hero Carlos Roa admits rejecting Manchester United move to replace outgoing Peter Schmeichel because he thought the world was going to end
- Carlos Roa was one of the world’s finest goalkeepers at the turn of the century
- Argentine’s stock was high after dumping England out of the 1998 World Cup
- But he snubbed Old Trafford move in 1999 to follow his religious beliefs
- Roa admits regret from a sporting perspective at not making move to United
Carlos Roa has claimed that he was in line to join Manchester United in the summer of 1999 only for the move to collapse following his sudden retirement.
The Argentine was widely regarded as one of the world’s finest keepers at the end of the century and was a priority for Sir Alex Ferguson.
United were looking for a long term successor to replace Peter Schmeichel who departed the club following their treble success in 1999.
Carlos Roa was regarded as one of the world’s finest goalkeepers at the turn of the century
Roa’s stock was high having been part of the Argentina side that dumped England out on penalties in the previous year’s World Cup at the last-16 stage, famously saving David Batty’s spot-kick.
But Roa’s personal beliefs as a devout Seventh-day Adventist stopped him from ever moving to Old Trafford from Real Mallorca.
He informed the club he was retiring at just 30-year-old to follow his beliefs, which included a prediction the world would end in the year 2000.
Roa is an Argentina World Cup hero after helping dump England out of France ’98 on penalties
The goalkeeper saved David Batty’s spot-kick to secure his side a place in the quarter-finals
‘At that time I was very attached to religion and bible study. It was a difficult decision to make but at the same time thoughtful – and my family agreed with me,’ he told the Mirror.
‘The people of the club thought that I was going to go back and that they would recover a lot of money with that transfer that was about to happen.
‘Today, I still think that on a spiritual level it was a very good decision. But in sporting terms it wasn’t – because I left football at the best moment of my career.
Roa was seen as the ideal replacement for the outgoing Peter Schmeichel (left) by Sir Alex Ferguson but he snubbed an Old Trafford switch following his sudden retirement
‘I could have progressed a lot, with great contracts and the possibility of playing in England.’
Both parties lost out in the long term with Roa never quite recovering his form after returning to Mallorca less than a year after his retirement, as he soon dropped through the Spanish leagues.
Ferguson meanwhile endured a nightmare period trying to replace Schmeichel, as first-choice pics including Mark Bosnich, Fabien Barthez, Roy Carroll and Tim Howard failed to impress before he finally settled on Edwin van der Sar in 2005.
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