David Beckham was always something of a free spirit and while that likely benefitted his creativity on the pitch, it ended up hindering his relationship with Alex Ferguson.
David Beckham was one of the first footballers to transcend the sport and throw himself into mainstream celebrity culture and he had a tendency to play by his own rules at times.
While he will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest Manchester United players of all time, he was allowed to leave the club when he was arguably hitting his prime.
Alex Ferguson had his fair share of run-ins with Beckham at United and as he did on more than one occasion, Ferguson was not afraid to sell a superstar if he felt the time was right.
Writing in his second autobiography, Ferguson revealed why he did not fight to keep Beckham when Real Madrid came calling in 2003.
“The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go,” Ferguson wrote.
“David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. That was the death knell for him.”
Beckham infamously found himself on the receiving end of a kicked boot from Ferguson in 2003 and the Scot maintains that Beckham never took responsibility for mistakes he made.
Beckham looks back on his career now and can acknowledge that he made some errors in judgement and, speaking on an episode of BBC Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs, the former England winger recalls an incident when Ferguson wouldn’t speak to him because Beckham had taken it upon himself to visit his wife in Ireland.
Beckham said: “There were certain decisions that I made back then that were wrong decisions and I can see why the manager got so frustrated by certain things.
“There was one occasion when Victoria was in Ireland, I had a day off so I flew over to Ireland. I didn’t feel I needed to tell the manager what I was doing.
“As I was coming back at 6am for training, I was sat in the lounge and the manager walked in. He didn’t talk to me. I knew I was in a little bit of trouble.
“I can understand the manager then thinking, ‘Okay, he’s not looking after his body,’ or ‘he’s not resting as he should do’.
“All the manager ever wanted was the best for the team, the best for the club and the best for the individual.”