Manchester United signed Barthez from Monaco in 2000 after the Frenchman had helped Monaco win the Ligue 1 title.
Big things were expected of the goalkeeper given how United had struggled to cope since Peter Schmeichel had left the club two years previously.
However, despite winning the Premier League title in 2003, Barthez failed to prove himself as Schmeichel's long-term heir.
United have arguably had only two world-class goalkeepers since the former Denmark international left Old Trafford, in the form of Edwin van der Sar and David De Gea.
The Red Devils could be forced to strengthen in that area if De Gea joins Real Madrid, though reports in Spain suggest the deal hinges on whether or not the La Liga giants part with Keylor Navas.
Manchester City are also trying to sign a new shotstopper, with Pep Guardiola expected to tie up a £43million deal for Benfica's Ederson.
Most expensive goalkeepers in world football Mon, May 29, 2017
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10. Fraser Forster – £10m (Celtic to Southampton)
Fabien Barthez divided opinion during his time at Manchester United
Fabien had a wee bit more. He liked the excitement of taking care of the ball
Sir Alex Ferguson on former Manchester United star Fabien Barthez
Guardiola favours ball-playing goalkeepers – which is why he raided Barcelona for Claudio Bravo last summer and why Joe Hart is likely to leave the Etihad this transfer window.
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And Ferguson has revealed that Barthez would have fitted the Guardiola mould, saying the 45-year-old loved taking risks.
"Since they stopped the pass back, it meant they had to use their feet," Ferguson told UEFA.
"It has become a great part of the game today and I think when you see the performances of Manuel Neuer, he's incredible.
"They played in the 2013 Super Cup final against Chelsea, and when they were chasing the winning goal, he played on the halfway line like the sweeper.
Fabien Barthez has chanced his arm in motosport since leaving Manchester United
"I had Fabien Barthez. Other goalkeepers would play safety first: 'If I can pass to one of my team-mates, that's my job.'
"Fabien had a wee bit more. He liked the excitement of taking care of the ball.
"I remember he kept telling me he was a better outfield player.
"He could play sometimes in Friday-morning games before the Saturday game, in small-sided games, he had good feet."
Barthez has embarked on a change of career since retiring following a brief spell at Nantes a decade ago.
The World Cup and European Championships winner has chanced his arm behind the wheel, and was crowned champion of France’s GT motorsport series in 2013.