A decade after kicking a boot at David Beckham’s head, Alex Ferguson used his autobiography to criticize the star’s apparent pre-occupation with fame.
At Manchester United, Ferguson developedBeckham into one of the world’s most recognizable sportsmen, but the midfielder left United in 2003 for Real Madrid under a cloud after his relationship with the manager broke down.
“David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game,” Ferguson wrote in his autobiography, which will be released on Thursday. “I felt uncomfortable with the celebrity aspect of his life.”
By moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 after four years at Madrid, Ferguson said Beckham “surrendered a part of his career.”
In the 2002-03 season, Ferguson had concerns that Beckham’s”application level had dropped” and his “work-rate was dropping.”
There was no way back after the February 2003 match againstArsenal. Ferguson was unhappy that Beckham neglected to track back when Arsenal scored its second goal in a 2-0 win.
“As usual, with David at that time, he was dismissive of my criticism,” Ferguson wrote. “It’s possible that he was starting to think he was no longer needed to track back and chase.”
In the dressing room, Ferguson recalls Beckham swearing nearby before the boot flew.
“I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye,” Ferguson recalled. “Of course he rose to have a go at me and the players stopped him.”
After that, Ferguson told the board that Beckham had to leave.