Former Manchester United winger David Beckham said he did not watch the club for three years after leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid, with the ex-England captain “shocked and devastated” over his departure.
After six Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy among others, Beckham ended his association with boyhood club United as he joined Spanish giants Madrid in a blockbuster deal worth €35million in 2003.
Beckham’s relationship with manager Alex Ferguson had soured at the time, which prompted the Scotsman and United to initially agree a deal with Barcelona before the 1999 Ballon d’Or runner-up set his heart on the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, Beckham insisted he never wanted to leave Manchester, where he first arrived as a trainee in 1991.
“I didn’t watch Manchester United for three years [after leaving],” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
Beckham continued: “I was shocked and devastated because we had just won the league that season.
“[without a doubt I wanted to retired at Old Trafford] Because Manchester United were my team. I had no aspirations to leave United.
“There was never any revenge. I was hurt and angry at the time at how the situation had gone because throughout the season I was left out of certain games but never thought it would lead to me leaving.
“But I had heard rumours I might be sold. I was holiday in the States with Victoria and one of my friends called and told me it was on Sky Sports that United had agreed terms with Barcelona. I said that wasn’t right, I don’t know anything about it.
“I then flew back to London. I tried to speak to Peter Kenyon and tried to speak to the manager and he said no. I said well I need to speak to him and understand what is going on. He said it’s true, we have agreed a deal.
“That is when I spoke to my agent and said if I am going to move, I’m going to move to Madrid. Within a day, I was sat with the president of Madrid and we agreed that is where I was going to go.”
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