Alex Ferguson is to retire as Manchester United manager at the end of this season, the English Premier League champions announced on Wednesday, bringing down the curtain on one of the most successful careers football has known. (Fact file)
Ferguson, 71, has been in charge at Old Trafford for 26 years, guiding United to 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.
"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time," Ferguson said in a statement released by the club.
"It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so," added Ferguson who will bow out with United having won this season's Premier League.
The club gave no indication of a successor amid press speculation that Everton's David Moyes could fill the Old Trafford hot seat vacated by fellow Scotsman Ferguson.
United did say, however, that Ferguson would remain at United as director and official club ambassador. His final game in charge will be against West Bromwich Albion on May 19.
Ferguson, who had recently insisted he would be continuing as manager, is due to have a hip replacement operation after the end of the season and until rumours started circulating Tuesday there was no indication he was about to step down.