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Ferguson’s family are said to be ‘pleased and extremely encouraged’ with his progress since his emergency surgery.

‘Of course he’d love to be at Kiev on May 26 to see his former star player Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid against Liverpool. ‘Ronaldo sees Sir Alex as a father figure. ‘But Sir Alex needs plenty of rest and will have to follow his consultant’s strict instructions to recover fully.’

Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly joked about flying out to Kiev for Liverpool’s Champions League final immediately after waking up from his emergency brain operation after the legendary Man United boss suffered a brain hemorrhage last week and details of his first words after the operation have emerged. Ferguson first asked for the result of Doncaster’s final match of the season against Wigan at Keepmoat Stadium where his son, Darren Ferguson, manages.

‘How did Doncaster get on?’ he said before moving onto the crucial upcoming fixtures of United and Liverpool. It’s claimed Ferguson joked: ‘Aye, the Cup Final is out — but what about Kiev?’

Sir Alex Ferguson: Former Manchester United boss remains in intensive care. 

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson remains in intensive care after having emergency surgery on Saturday for a brain hemorrhage.

A United statement said the procedure "had gone very well" but there is no update on the 76-year-old's condition. The Scot retired as United manager in May 2013 after winning 38 trophies during 26 years in charge. He was at Old Trafford last Sunday when he presented Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger with a commemorative trophy. Ferguson's family have requested privacy as he recovers in Salford Royal Hospital.

"We will keep Sir Alex and his loved ones in our thoughts during this time, and we are united in our wish to see him make a comfortable, speedy recovery," United later said in a tweet. "He needs a period of intensive care to optimize his recovery."

The most successful manager in the history of the British game, Ferguson's trophy haul at Old Trafford included 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups. Ferguson won the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999, the year in which he was knighted.

United's club captain Michael Carrick said he was "devastated" to learn his former manager had needed emergency surgery.

"All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Be strong boss," he posted on Twitter.

Ferguson has been married to wife Cathy since 1966. His son Darren manages Doncaster Rovers but did not not take charge of their League One match against Wigan on Saturday.

Ferguson began his playing career with Scottish club Queen's Park as a 16-year-old striker while working as an apprentice tool-worker at Clyde Shipyards. His most notable spell as a player came in a two-year stint at Rangers from 1967. He retired as a player in 1974 when he was on Ayr United's books. He began his managerial career as a 32-year-old at East Stirlingshire before going to St Mirren, where he won his first trophy by taking the Scottish first division title in 1977. Ferguson moved on to Aberdeen and turned them into a major force in a Scottish top division in which Rangers and Celtic had dominated. He led them to three Scottish titles, four Scottish FA Cups, one League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 by beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the final.

Manchester United have not won the league since 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United Trophies

Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011

FA Cup: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004 Uefa Super Cup: 1992

League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010 Inter-Continental Cup: 1999

Champions League: 1999, 2008 Fifa Club World Cup: 2008

Cup Winners Cup: 1991

Ferguson managed Scotland in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico following the death of Jock Stein, although he was unable to take his country past the group stage. He became Manchester United manager later that year. United celebrated their first Premier League triumph under Ferguson in 1993, the club's first league title for 26 years.

Willie Miller, who served as Aberdeen captain under Ferguson, said he was "staggered" to hear the news. "My thoughts are with the boss, Cathy and the boys. Hoping the great man does what he does best and wins this challenge," he added.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce said: "I hope he's in good hands and I hope the operation is a major success. As a personal friend, I hope he has a full recovery."

Cristiano Ronaldo posted a picture of himself and Sir Alex Ferguson during his time at Manchester United

David Beckham posted a picture of himself as a youth player alongside Sir Alex Ferguson. Former Manchester United midfielder Beckham: 'Keep fighting boss. Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family.'

Mike Phelan, who was Ferguson's assistant for five years: 'You've won more than most and if anyone can, you can boss.'

United defender Ashley Young: 'Gutted to hear the news tonight about Sir Alex. Don't really know what else to say other than thoughts and prayers with you and your family, boss.'

Former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar: "Devastated about the news about Sir Alex and knowing all too well about the situation ourselves. Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover."

United defender Chris Smalling: "Gutted to hear the news about Sir Alex. Stay strong boss. Thoughts are with you and your family."

'Massive respect' for Sir Alex Ferguson" - Michael Appleton

Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker: "Very sorry to hear the news that Sir Alex Ferguson is seriously ill in hospital. Wish him all the very best."

Aberdeen FC: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone connected with Aberdeen Football Club are with our former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his family following tonight's news."

Liverpool FC: "A great rival but also a great friend who supported this club during its most difficult time, it is hoped that Sir Alex will make a full recovery."

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Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson CBE, born 31 December 1941, is a Scottish former football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 - 2013. He is regarded by many players, managers, and analysts to be one of the greatest and most successful managers of all time.

Manchester United fans gathered outside Old Trafford to express their shock and pray that the club’s longest-serving manager makes a full recovery.

“I just couldn’t stop crying when I heard,” said Norma Smith, 73, a season ticket-holder for the best part of 60 years. Wearing her United fleece despite the unseasonably warm weather, Smith looked close to tears as she said she was determined to be at the stadium on Sunday because “I want my heart here. We’ve got our own chapel here at Old Trafford and I’ve been to church this morning to pray for him. Devastated, devastated.” 

Ferguson, 76, remains in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital. The Scot retired as United manager in May 2013 after winning 38 trophies during 26 years in charge. The most successful manager in the history of the British game, Ferguson's trophy haul at Old Trafford included 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups. He and his Man United side won the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999, the year in which he was knighted. Ferguson has been married to wife Cathy since 1966. His son Darren manages Doncaster Rovers but did not take charge of their League One match against Wigan on Saturday.

"He's a strong man and an optimistic man," said Wenger. "We wish him all the best and that he recovers quickly."

Ferguson was at Old Trafford last Sunday when he presented departing Arsenal boss Wenger with a commemorative trophy.

"I was on the pitch with him last week. He was very happy but anything can happen," Wenger added. "I went to see him in the box after the game on Sunday. He looked in perfect shape. He told me he's doing a lot of exercises, he looked very happy."

Sir Alex Ferguson presented outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a commemorative trophy at Old Trafford last week

Arsene Wenger was among a host of Premier League managers to send support to Sir Alex Ferguson over the weekend after the former Manchester United boss had emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also sent his close friend his well wishes, revealing Ferguson had recently taken him out for dinner to congratulate him on winning the Premier League title with City.

"A big hug and our thoughts are with his wife Cathy and the Manchester United family," the Spaniard told Sky Sports before City's goalless draw with Huddersfield on Sunday. I was glad to have dinner with him two weeks ago, and hopefully, he can recover as quickly as possible."

Ryan Giggs sent his best wishes to Ferguson and revealed that it was a ‘huge shock’ when he heard the news. The former United winger explained: ‘It was a huge shock as the news filtered in. 

In a tweet on Sunday night, Manchester United thanked the "wider football world" for their messages of support.

The Scottish FA posted a message of support for Ferguson from Scotland manager Alex McLeish

More messages of support

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was saddened by the news.

"I'm very sad. I have had the possibility to know him and his wife and to understand that this is a special person. He's not a normal person. A manager who won many titles in his career. I think I appreciated a lot the man. And yesterday this news changed my day in a bad way, because we hope to see him quickly and to have our best wishes to recover very soon. Now it's very difficult. We want to stay very close also."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "When I heard it yesterday on the way to London, I really couldn't believe it. It can happen to all of us. He will be in my prayers 100%. I wish him and his family all the best. He will be in a good shape again. I'm 100% sure. I'm looking forward to seeing him again."

Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd:

"He's such an iconic person as everybody knows. There was a really sombre mood yesterday evening and this morning. You think Sir Alex is really indestructible, we've all been brought up with him. What he did for Manchester United was unreal and the pressure he was under every day to produce. It's phenomenal. You know him, you lads have had your run-ins with him but you know where he's coming from; he wears his heart on his sleeve. The opportunity he gave me, I'm always indebted to him, God bless him. All the love in the world to him."

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore: "It's obviously a big shock but the most important thing is to wish him well, and his family well, to respect their privacy, and hope that very, very soon he's back to his best.

“Manchester United would like to thank its friends in the wider football world for the countless messages of support that have been conveyed following the news that Sir Alex Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening. As well as being uppermost in the thoughts of our own players, past and present, Sir Alex has been the subject of many warm and touching comments from other clubs, governing bodies and individuals in the beautiful game.”