However, there was a time before Ferguson came calling when he felt his career was going to come to its conclusion at Craven Cottage
'If I had stayed at Fulham I would have quit the game by now,' said Van der Sar.
'After my third and fourth year there, I thought my chance of playing for a big club again had gone.
'I went to Fulham for the project they explained to me — but it didn't really work out.
'I might have been playing at a high level for the national team but I was starting to miss those European nights and challenging for titles.
'At certain times you start to — maybe not lose the faith — but just wonder how long it will take until someone picks me up.
'I was thinking, 'Is it just me? Do I think I'm better than any manager does? Do they think I am just too old or not good enough?'
'But Alex Ferguson bought me and I have to admit, if I had not been at Manchester United, I'd have stopped playing by now.'
Collecting a second European Cup winner's medal after the penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea last season – 13 years after he was in goal for the Ajax side that beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final in Vienna – was reward for Ferguson's faith and Van der Sar's enduring quality.
And that night in Moscow also gave the Dutchman something he had been longing for but had yet to find up to that point in a distinguished career.
'One thing I always wanted was to make a particular save that you would always be remembered for,' he told the Sun
'Stopping what proved to be the last penalty in a Champions League final is that moment — something you will cherish for the rest of your life, because you know how important that was for the players, the club and yourself.'