‘I expected more’: Ander Herrera bursts into tears as he discusses his ‘painful’ Manchester United exit in 2019 after the club failed to offer him a new contract despite winning the Player of the Year award
Ander Herrera burst into tears as he discussed leaving former club Manchester United, claiming he expected more from the club.
Herrera has revealed he found his departure from United “painful” as he had anticipated an offer from his club to extend his stay with the Red Devils, coinciding with wins in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.
The former United favorite – who has backed Marcus Rashford to become a club legend – joined under Louis van Gaal in 2014, before leaving for PSG on a free transfer five years later, returning to Athletic Bilbao in 2022.
Former Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera was moved to tears as he discussed leaving the club
The Spanish midfielder played five seasons at Old Trafford, winning the FA Cup and the Europa League
“It was hard to leave because six months before, five months before that, I was expecting that offer to stay,” Herrera said on the UTD Podcast.
“I don’t want to, it’s not the time to talk badly about anyone and I’m not going to do it, but after my third season at the club I expected a little more from the club at that point.
“I won the fans’ player of the season award and the club didn’t call me that summer to sign a new contract, but they did with other players, so that was painful for me.
Herrera was allowed to leave for free in 2019 and joined Ligue 1 titans PSG for three seasons
“I think I deserved (a contract extension) but they didn’t and after the terms changed because I wasn’t happy with that little moment from the club.
Herrera scored 20 goals and 27 assists from 189 appearances
“I’m so grateful, but that was painful at the end of the third season. Three titles, player of the year and they didn’t call me in the summer so I felt a bit down.’
Herrera was one of the club’s most important players in a period where they struggled to regain their stature, not just in the English game, but in all of European football.
He would go on to play 189 games for the Red Devils, scoring 20 goals and providing 27 assists from defensive midfield.
The decision to let the player go for free came under scrutiny, with the Spaniard consistently being a performer for not only Van Gaal, but Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during their respective tenures at Old Trafford.
Herrera admitted that he was later offered a new contract with the club, but by then the damage was already done for the midfielder.
“And then they called me when I had another year on contract and everything, they weren’t right for me,” he added.
“I will fight for the club until the last day, no problem, I respected my contract until the last day.
“But they didn’t come at the right time in my opinion, and in my agent’s opinion, and also in my family’s opinion.”
And when asked if he was emotional on his last day at Old Trafford, he said: “I remember that last day at Old Trafford, I still have a picture with my daughter, so yeah, that was it,” before he burst into tears and walked off to compose himself.
The defensive midfielder performed consistently under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho before him