Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in Manchester United’s history, has undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

“The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery,” a statement from the club said. “His family request privacy in this matter.”

United captain Michael Carrick tweeted: “Absolutely devastated to hear about Sir Alex being unwell in hospital. All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Be strong boss.”

Ferguson’s son Darren, the manager of Doncaster Rovers, was reported to have missed his team’s match on Saturday for family reasons.

The 76-year-old was United manager from 1986 to 2013, winning the Champions League twice, the Premier League 13 times and five FA Cups.

He was knighted in 1999, the year United achieved a treble by winning those three trophies in one season.

He made his managerial reputation in his native Scotland with Aberdeen, winning three Scottish League titles and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

After taking Scotland to the 1986 World Cup following the death of Jock Stein, Ferguson joined United in November 1986 after Ron Atkinson was sacked.

It took three and a half years to achieve his first success with them, the FA Cup title in 1990.

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