Alex Ferguson implies FIFA President compares with Robert Mugabe

LONDON (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter is in danger of losing credibility as the most powerful man in football, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said on Tuesday.

"I think Sepp Blatter is in danger … or has reached a point now where he is being mocked within the game," Ferguson said in an interview with GQ magazine.

"Whether he’s getting too old I don’t know. But things can happen to people in power. Look at some of the despots in Africa."

Asked by the interviewer if he was comparing Blatter to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Ferguson said: "That would be ridiculous.

"All I’m saying is that, from a position of great power, he has uttered so many ridiculous statements he is in danger of seriously damaging his credibility."

SLAVERY FURORE

Blatter, 72, head of world soccer’s ruling body, upset Ferguson earlier this year when he suggested clubs were guilty of a form of slavery by trying to tie players to long-term contracts to prevent them moving.

"When he came out with that stuff it created a furore and rightly so, the year after the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery," Ferguson added.

The United manager also accused Real Madrid of signing Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze in order to try to tempt Cristiano Ronaldo away from Old Trafford.

"We knew it was going to happen because Ronaldo was very close to Heinze," Ferguson said.

"I don’t believe they were interested in Heinze, good player though he is. The end game was to get Ronaldo."

Last week Real president Ramon Calderon said the club were no longer pursuing Ronaldo after the Portugal winger decided to stay at United.