Sir Alex Ferguson was, and perhaps still is, the don of Manchester United. In the 26 seasons that he ruled the United dressing room, he amassed an incredible 38 major trophies.
Feared, fanatic, tempermental, genius – Ferguson demanded 100% commitment and total obedience. Trusting in him delivered silverware. Question him and it was bleak future faced at United.
While many players experienced huge success under the Scot, falling out with the manager was, for some, as inevitable as the trophies he delivered. Some reformed and continued to tow the United line; however, for these five United stars, clashing with the boss sealed their fate at Old Trafford.
Perhaps United’s most famous academy graduate, David Beckham became one of the best set piece ball kickers ever.
Winning six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League under Ferguson, things came crashing down when in 2003. During a dressing room bust up, Ferguson launched a boot at the player, striking Beckham in the face and leaving the star needing stitches.
It is believed that Beckham’s celebrity lifestyle never sat well with Ferguson and following ‘Bootgate’ Beckham soon left for Real Madrid.
After four successful seasons in La Liga, the former England captain departed for the MLS and LA Galaxy.
These days Beckham is in the early stages of creating his own MLS franchise in Miami and has a net worth somewhere north of $350 million.
Video Credit: Peradze
The Dutch defender joined United in 1998 and quickly cemented his status as both a fan favourite and as one of United’s best ever centre backs.
It was while at the height of his career in 2001 that Ferguson shocked fans by selling his defensive general to Lazio.
It emerged afterwards Ferguson was livid with Stam for suggesting in his biography that Ferguson had signed him from PSV despite not receiving permission from the Dutch club to speak to their player.
A reconciliation did eventually follow, with the Scot even admitting he should never have sold the Dutchman in the first place.
These days Stam has gone into management and was recently appointed as the new Reading boss for the coming season.
Check out the only goal the Dutchman scored for United. It sure tickled Fergie at the time.
Video Credit: Kristian66
Ruud van Nistelrooy
One of United’s best ever strikers, with 95 goals in 150 appearances including 38 in the Champions League, Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of Ferguson’s best ever signings.
Between 2001 and 2006 he helped United to the Premier League title, an FA Cup and a League Cup during his five seasons at the club.
Things came unstuck for van Nistelrooy in 2006 when a rumoured spat with Ferguson and then Cristiano Ronaldo, saw the Dutchman benched for a number of games.
Though he later apologised to the manager, Ferguson saw red and promptly sold his star striker to Real Madrid in the summer of 2006.
Life after United was a successful one for van Nistelrooy. Two La Liga titles as a ‘Galactico’ and a successful adventure in coaching has followed since his retirement in 2012. He currently serves the Dutch national side as an assistant coach.
Video Credit: FikaAze
United’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ for nearly a decade, even Roy Keane was not immune to the wrath of his manager.
Ferguson’s general on the field, Keane helped United to seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League title. However, when you put two like-minded people together, things will eventually implode. So they did 2005, and in spectacular fashion.
Following a now-infamous series of interviews for MUTV, Keane publicly criticised his teammates for their apparent lack of commitment following a number of embarrassing defeats. Considered damning even by Keane’s standards, the interviews were quickly pulled from transmission.
However, they were enough to spark a series of rows with Ferguson and in December of 2005, United’s captain left the club by mutual consent.
A spell at Celtic thereafter fulfilled a life-long ambition of the Cork man and saw him pick up a Scottish League and Cup double in 2006.
Once retired, Keane entered management and led Sunderland to the English Championship title and promotion back to the Premier League in 2007. He is currently the Republic of Ireland’s assistant manager alongside Martin O’Neill and recently enjoyed a successful Euro 2016 campaign that saw the national side reach the last 16 for the first time.
Video Credit: JunAidRonaldo17
Currently the world’s most talked about player, Pogba started football life as a member of the United academy.
Graduating in 2011, Pogba was selected by Alex Ferguson for his first team debut in August of 2011 but only featured three times all season having been unable to cement his place in the squad.
In the summer of 2012, against the expressed wishes of Ferguson, Pogba left Old Trafford for Juventus on a free transfer, a move which is reported to have seriously annoyed the veteran manager.
Four successive Serie A titles with the Turin club now sees Pogba valued at £100 million and he looks set to return to United this summer as football’s most expensive player.
Video Credit: rom7ooo
United’s tenure under Ferguson’s reign was the most successful and storied period in the club’s history. It also bore witness to some of the most shocking transfers as Ferguson discarded all and any superstars that crossed his path.
Completely ruthless and yet remembered fondly by all except Roy Keane, it’s clear that despite getting the bullet from Old Trafford, success still managed to follow these five stars in the careers post-Manchester United.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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