Sir Alex Ferguson spoke of his pride as a bronze statue of the Manchester United manager was unveiled at Old Trafford by his wife Lady Cathy.
The nine-foot statue was commissioned in November 2012 to mark 25 years at the club, when the North Stand was also renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.
Ex-players and the first team squad were in attendance in honour of English football's most successful manager.
"It's fantastic, a really proud moment," said Ferguson.
The 70-year-old has now been in charge of the Reds for 26 years, winning 27 major trophies including 12 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
"Normally people die before they see their statue, so I'm out-living death," added Ferguson.
"I've had an incredible journey at the club and I've had so many great players, some of whom are here today.
"They should build this statue for them all, because they've been absolutely marvellous.
"From 1986 right through to today, the players have given us enormous pleasure.
"Everyone has had a part to play, from the players to the coaching staff, medical staff and, of course, the fans."
Former United players Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Edwin van der Sar, Peter Schmeichel, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, and Gary and Phil Neville, joined fans for the unveiling while David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo sent pre-recorded tributes.
United chief executive David Gill said: "People can talk about many things like the hairdryer and Fergie time, but the most important thing you have brought back to this club is respect."
Revealing why Lady Cathy was chosen to unveil the statue, Gill added: "She is Sir Alex's greatest supporter. And I think he's a bit scared of her."
Ferguson thanked his wife for her support throughout his career but joked: "Cathy has promised that every Saturday morning she's going to come down here and bow to the statue!"
In a pre-recorded message, former England captain Beckham said: "What an amazing day for you, your family and for the club.
"I just want to say thank you for everything you have done for me. My time at United was without doubt the highlight of my career and I cherish it."
Real Madrid forward Ronaldo added: "Well done boss, I think you deserve it 100%."