Manchester United captain Carrick devastated by Ferguson illness

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United said in a statement on Saturday that Ferguson's surgery had gone "extremely well", but that he would need a period of intensive care to aid his recovery. "That's the effect he had on people".

"I never played for him but I played against him many times - an icon all over the world", Defoe told Press Association Sport.

Although no official updates have been provided since, the Daily Mail have provided uplifting news that he is now out of a coma and is "sitting up talking and asking about his results" after citing friends of Ferguson.

Former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen believes Ryan Giggs should have succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson instead of David Moyes. "Sending prayers and love to [wife] Cathy and the whole family".

Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football, winning 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups in his 27-year stint at Manchester United.

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The Wales manager said he is praying for Ferguson (76) - who he calls the biggest influence in his life - to make a full recovery. They bought Saha; I remember a lot of the boys telling me when I'd go away with England, "I thought you were actually coming". Hopefully, he'll recover well.

"God knows everything so I hope he can help him".

Outgoing Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was honoured before kick-off by Ferguson and current United incumbent Jose Mourinho and the French tactician was among many luminaries to send messages of support for the iconic Scot. Wenger enjoyed a long, and at times fractious rivalry with Ferguson as they battled for Premier League supremacy in the first decade of the Frenchman's long reign in charge of Arsenal.

"I was with him on the pitch last week, I went to see him in the box after the game on Sunday".

Wenger, who is leaving the Gunners at the end of the season, described Ferguson as "an optimistic man" with Guardiola saying his thoughts were with Ferguson's wife Cathy and the rest of his family, including his son Darren, who is now in charge of Doncaster Rovers. We wish him all well and to recover very quickly.