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Ex-Argentina goalkeeper Carlos Roa insists no regrets turning down Man Utd: Spiritually very good decision

Former Argentina goalkeeper Carlos Roa insists he has no regrets turning down Manchester United.

Roa was earmarked as Peter Schmeichel's replacement by Sir Alex Ferguson after United won the Treble in 1999.

But Roa, a devout Seventh-day Adventist, temporarily retired from ­football because of his faith.

He told his Spanish club ­Mallorca he was hanging up his boots – just as his career was about to peak, aged 30.

And although he returned to La Liga action just six months later, he was unable to recapture the form that had almost taken him to ­Manchester.

More than 20 years on, Roa ­admits he has some regrets.

He said: “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.

“Certain things happened that will never be known because they are personal and I could only speak to the most intimate people.

“Many things were said back then out of ignorance and I was branded a thousand bad things.

“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.

“I could have progressed a lot, with great contracts and the ­possibility of playing in England.

“People will never understand it. Back then they drove me crazy, they called me from all sides, and as much as I tried to explain my decision it was very difficult for them to understand."

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Paul Vegas

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