Lucas Radebe on Leeds United's rivalry with Manchester United and why he turned Old Trafford down

Lucas Radebe believes any meeting between Leeds United and Manchester United always brings more emotion for those involved.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:01 pm
Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe in action against Manchester United in 2002. Pic: Getty

The Whites host the Red Devils this weekend in Premier League action at Elland Road as the two side's renew rivalries for a second time this season.

Leeds fell to a 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford last December and are looking to put a disappointing result behind them in LS11.

Radebe - who enjoyed 11 years of top flight football with Leeds - says it is great to see the rivalry between the two teams surface again.

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Marcelo Bielsa's outfit ended a 16-year absence from the Premier League last summer, which set up a clash with their old foe on level terms for the first time since 2004.

"I think that the rivalry is back on again," Radebe told Sky Sports.

"The battle of the roses and it is always a game that brings more emotions to the fans and players - it's just looking forward to playing against the best.

"For me that was amazing. I always looked forward to that - it is a different game on the field of play and in the preparation because we know we've got to be up to it.

"We needed to be on top of the game because we don't want to lose to our fierce rivals. It always brought the best out of us."

Asked about recent good results against Liverpool and Manchester City, he added: "I think we underestimate the end of the season results.

"To get the result from great clubs like [Manchester City and Liverpool], it means a lot - especially at this time of the year.

"To get results from the top six sets you up for the next season. I think the club has done so well. We didn't have a good time when they beat us 6-2 but this time we can show we are looking forward with a better result."

Radebe went on to make 262 appearances for Leeds following his arrival from South African side Kaizer Chiefs.

He spent his entire spell in England in West Yorkshire, captaining a side which ended up in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Radebe, though, had offers to go elsewhere during his career at Elland Road - including the chance to move across the Pennines to Old Trafford.

"I come from a country where values were most important," he said of turning down Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.

"When I got that opportunity for me it was all about where I come from and the club that had brought me to the best league in the world - the Premier League.

"I wanted to learn and grow with the club. I never hesitated to turn it down and stay with the club, because I saw the opportunity of growing with Leeds United.

"They had treated me well all along and I felt like I belonged. Coming from South Africa we had our own rivalries but it took us by surprise to see how deep it goes.

"It soon boils up I think as players but what you hear and see how they're chanting and the atmosphere - it's absolutely amazing."