'Touching' messages pour in as Sir Alex Ferguson remains in intensive care

Sir Alex Ferguson

Players and fans from across the footballing spectrum were last night awaiting an update on his condition after the 76-year-old underwent emergency surgery on Saturday.

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick said he was "absolutely devastated", adding: "Be strong Boss".

"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 hard time", Liverpool said in an club statement.

"What he did for Manchester United was unreal and the pressure he was under every day to produce".

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid forward and five-time Ballon d'Or victor who kickstarted his career at United under Ferguson from 2003 to 2009 posted a picture of him and the manager, saying: "My thoughts and prayers are with you, my dear friend". He told me he's doing a lot of exercise, he looked very happy, but that kind of accident can happen.

United confirmed that Ferguson underwent emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage and is recovering in hospital, just a week after presenting Wenger with a special award on his final visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager.

World football governing body Fifa added that it joined "many across the world" to send its best wishes.

You think Sir Alex is really indestructible.

"We will keep Ferguson 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. "Sending prayers and love to (wife) Cathy and the whole family".

I was preparing for Match of the Day when news reached the studio that Sir Alex Ferguson had been taken ill.

"I was with him on the pitch last week. His family request privacy in this matter".

Since Ferguson left, United have struggled to repeat his triumphs and great rivals Manchester City have now won two titles in that time, including this season's. "Everyone at Manchester United sends our very best wishes".

He famously won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999 and was knighted the same year.

Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, using the hashtag "legend", said: "Get well soon Sir Alex Ferguson my support are with family and friends.!"

Conte said his Saturday had been badly affected by the news, having had the chance to meet Ferguson personally. "Thoughts are with the family and close ones", he wrote.

The scale of Ferguson's achievements during his dynastic reign is underscored by United's failure under three managers to win the Premier League in the five years since his retirement.

Former Manchester United player Edwin van der Sar, whose wife Annemarie suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2009 and made a full recovery, posted a poignant message online.

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