PHOTO: Sir Alex at Europa League final - 5 players he may have scouted

Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United's legendary former manager was in attendance in Torino as Benfica took on Sevilla.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was seen enjoying the Europa League final contested between Benfica and Sevilla at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Wednesday evening, a match that was finished 0-0 and was decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Both clubs competed against top teams en route to the tournament's climax, with eventual champions Sevilla slaying sides from Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Spain and Portugal, including FC Porto and Valencia.

Prior to kick-off, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tipped Benfica for the victory, but identified "three excellent players" from Sevilla who could cause the Primeira Liga side problems - Kevin Gameiro, Stephan M'Bia and Ivan Rakitic. The latter, Rakitic, hardly put a foot wrong all game while the former, Gameiro, won the trophy for his side by converting his nerve-riddled spot kick.

While Ferguson's presence in Italy may have been innocent - he was recently appointed a UEFA coaching ambassador - but as a member of United's board-room, he may well have been on a scouting mission for one of the many stars on show.

So who impressed at Torino?

1): Federico Fazio - Sevilla

Aerially-dominant and an all-round physically-impressive athlete, Fazio, 27, could reportedly be on the cusp of a big move as, just last month, he was linked in a "four-way fight" with Fiorentina, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and… United. A versatile centre back, Fazio has a valuation of £5.3m but, as a Europa League champion, Sevilla could feasibly negotiate a deal that surpasses even double that amount. Against Benfica, he won six of his seven aerial battles and completed 13 clearances.

2): Nicolas Pareja - Sevilla/Spartak Moscow

Fazio's Argentine compatriot Nicolas Pareja was also impressive in the defensive regions. On loan from Spartak Moscow, Pareja was effective in the rearguard positions last night as well as providing an exceptional door-shutting presence when retrieving the ball and attempting challenges in midfield. Pareja completed 36 (86%) of his 42 pass attempts, attempted four tackles and cleared the ball nine times from a defensive position. While his performance against Benfica may have caught the eye of Ferguson, he is an unlikely target for United.

3): Ivan Rakitic - Sevilla

One of the most technically marvelous footballers on the field, Rakitic created countless chances for his Sevilla team-mates and was threatening with his crossing (five attempts). An adept dribbler, he completed four of his five take ons and attempted two shots. If Ferguson was suitably impressed with Rakitic to return to the United board-room and recommend a £25m fee, then the club would face competition from Real Madrid, as Marca have claimed that the La Liga giants want the Croatian.

4): Luisao - Benfica

Luisao has long been impressive at the upper echelons of European football. He is renowned for being a grafter, a personality attribute that Ferguson no doubt warms to in a player, and, against Sevilla, he underlined his pitch intellect with his expert reading of the game. He was dominant in the air, made six clearances and completed 85% of his 46 pass attempts. However, at 33-years-old, he is not one of the long-term replacements for outgoing centre back duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

5): Ezequiel Garay - Benfica

Ah, Garay, there you are. There is not a transfer window that goes by without this player and United being linked and Ferguson's presence in the stands will no doubt once again spark the perpetual rumours. Despite Fazio's natural height advantage (6ft 6in), Garay was exquisite in the air, winning five of his seven aerial tussles. He made four challenge attempts, cleared the ball successfully five times out of five and completed three interceptions. Garay has a valuation of £17.5m but could be available for cheaper as his contract expires next year.

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