David Beckham has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson refused to speak to him after Manchester United accepted an offer from Barcelona.
Following continuous years of success at Old Trafford, Beckham’s relationship with the legendary boss began to deteriorate.
One incident in particular saw Sir Alex accuse the star of a crucial mistake in their FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in 2003. In his anger, the Scot is alleged to have kicked a boot which accidentally hit Beckham above his left eye, with the then-England captain requiring stitches.
United were looking to sell him that summer and had agreed a fee with Barcelona, something that the player himself was unaware of as he set his sights on Real Madrid.
Beckham was interviewed by producer Ben Winston about qualities of leadership for the launch of a fellowship for Jewish educators in the name of Lira Winston – mother of Ben and wife of acclaimed fertility pioneer Lord Robert Winston – who died suddenly in December 2021 aged 72 with a heart attack.
Revealing all about the saga before he completed a sensational switch to Barcelona’s rivals Madrid, he said: “I always thought I’d start my career at United and end my career at United.
“I had no intention of leaving at any point, I didn’t want to play for any other club. But obviously I then find out I got sold one summer.
“I’m on holiday and that had been the year when I’d gone through the boot incident, there’d been a few things with the boss that had been highlighted, but my relationship with the manager had always been great,” he added.
“Then I’m on holiday and my friend Dave Gardner called me and said ‘you might want to turn on the TV, United have accepted an offer for you’.
“I had three years left on my contract at the time so was like ‘what do you mean?’ He said, ‘they’ve accepted a bid from Barcelona and you’re leaving.’
“I turned on the TV, saw the news, stopped my holiday and then called Peter Kenyon and said, ‘is this true?’ and he said ‘yes’ and I said, ‘can I speak to the manager?’ He said ‘no’, I said ‘I’d like to speak to the manager if I’m leaving.’ He said, ‘he doesn’t want to talk to you, he’s on holiday and that’s it’.
“I said, ‘I need to know if this is real or not.’ He said, ‘it’s real, we’ve accepted an offer’ which I then replied to him by saying, ‘If I am leaving United I want to decide where I go next, I don’t want to go to Barcelona, there’s only one club I want to go to and that’s Madrid’.
“My management made the call and a day and a half later I was a Madrid player.”
Beckham also stated: “It obviously hurt. I couldn’t watch United for three years on the TV.”
After over a decade at United, Beckham became a Galactico at Madrid in a deal worth around £25million.
He went on to make 159 appearances in all competitions at the Spanish giants, scoring 20 goals and assisting another 52.
Beckham won a La Liga title in his final season at the club before heading over to the United States to play for LA Galaxy.
The 115-time England international remains in MLS, this time in an ownership role at fellow legend Lionel Messi’s new club Inter Miami.