Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has called into question the motives of agents in football after receiving a sports ethics award in Rome on Monday.

Ferguson spoke to the press after the award ceremony and discussed the influence agents have on the transfer market.

“Compared to the past, nowadays the player doesn’t take part in negotiations and that’s why I ask myself if the agent is working for himself or for the player,” said Ferguson.

The United boss also denied that Italian football was in crisis.

Italy has lost a place in the Champions League to Germany for next season and already this season they saw Udinese fail to make it to the Champions League group stages and both Roma and Palermo crash out of the Europa League preliminary rounds.

“International football goes in cycles. The AC Milan of (Arrigo) Sacchi and (Fabio) Capello and (Marcello) Lippi at Juventus were great moments for Italian football,” he said.

“Now this cycle has changed with the emergence of two great Spanish clubs. English football is also enjoying a great period and I hope that continues.”