David Beckham recalls how a trip to Ireland got him in trouble with Alex Ferguson
David Beckham has been reflecting on his career and his relationship with his former manager.
Beckham retains a lot of respect for Alex Ferguson, despite the difficult end to their time together at Manchester United.
Ferguson sanctioned Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid in 2003, after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the player's celebrity profile.
"The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go," Ferguson wrote in his book.
"David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. That was the death knell for him."
Over 13 years later, Beckham doesn't hold any grudges and has a different perspective on his relationship with his manager.
The former England captain recalled how a trip to Ireland got him in trouble with Ferguson, and says he can now understand the reaction of the then United manager.
"At 41, I'd like to think that I'm more grown-up and a little wiser than when I was 21," Beckham said on BBC Radio Four show Desert Island Discs.
"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."
Beckham also said he remains grateful to Ferguson for how he helped him during the darkest hour of his career.
The former Real Madrid midfielder was sent-off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, England lost the game on penalties and Beckham was subjected to a torrent of abuse from rival fans back in England and the tabloid press.
"The first person to call me after that game was Sir Alex Ferguson," Beckham said.
"He said, 'Son, get back to Manchester, you'll be fine'. And that gave me strength to actually get through probably the toughest time I've been through in my life."