Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has admitted that he regrets leaving the club following their treble success in 1999.
The Danish goalkeeper spent eight successful years at Old Trafford, during which time he won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League.
Schmeichel's last game for United was the 1999 Champions League final, after which he left citing mental and physical exhaustion at the age of 35, but he now admits that he might have stayed had he put his pride to one side.
"It's over 20 years ago now and during that period of time you go through a lot of phases. First of all I went through retirement from football, then it was nice not to go in for a while and before you know you start to miss it all a bit. As you become further and further away from football your thinking process becomes better," Schmeichel told talkSPORT.
"I could have possibly played on for many more years [at Manchester United] had I cut back a little bit on the pride and spoken to the manager about it – but I didn't. I was too proud of my position at the club. When you get to your mid 50s you look back and have a better understanding of things.
"That was a young man's head making that decision, I admit I probably should of held out. It's not a regret as such, but it is a regret at the same time if you get what I mean. I loved the football club so much, why would I want to leave? But I was so worn out at the time so it would have taken something very extraordinary for me to change my mind.
"I was constantly in action, so whenever I wasn't playing in Championships for Denmark I was having surgery. I was never not surrounded by football or rehab. Mentally it was just wearing me down at the time. I nearly regretted it [the decision] after the final and then I'm thinking 'no, I've got to stick with my instinct.' It is what it is. If you ever have to end your Manchester United career I don't think that's a bad game to finish off."
Schmeichel went on to play for four more years before retiring, including a return to the Premier League with Aston Villa and United's local rivals Manchester City.