It’s a famous – or infamous – incident that will go down in Manchester United history, if not for the right reasons.
Sir Alex Ferguson needs no introduction at Old Trafford and beyond.
He is, quite simply, the greatest manager of all-time and United were the benefactors of that – winning 13 league titles and two Champions Leagues under his guidance between 1986 and 2013.
A number of bust-ups with top players was a small price to pay for that unrivalled success, meanwhile, as former captain Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy were among those to feel the wrath of the legendary Scot.
That was a fate that also fell into the path of David Beckham – an iconic Class of 92 member who went on to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid and captain England at major tournaments, too.
Similarly to players before and after him, the relationship between Beckham and Sir Alex took on that of a ‘father and son’ in elite footballing terms.
However, who can forget THAT boot-kicking incident which left the academy graduate needing stitches?
A whole series of takes on the matter have been shared in the following years – each of which vary in extremity or accuracy – but there are some constant facts in the tale-telling; United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal, Sir Alex kicked a boot, the boot hit Beckham.
Queue the media storm…
At that time, in February 2003, popular Portuguese coach Carlos Quieroz was the United assistant – while both he and Beckham departed for Spanish capital Madrid the following season.
So what REALLY happened on that day in a charged United dressing room?
During an interview with football magazine FourFourTwo, Quieroz said: “It’s time to establish the truth behind that story. Someone once said that if Sir Alex had intended that [hitting Beckham in the face], his left foot must have been real quality.
“I was there in the dressing room that day and, let’s put things right, it was not a good shot – because the boot first hit a table and only then it went in Beckham’s direction.”
Quieroz joked: “Sir Alex, I’m very sorry, but your left foot was not quite as good as you think!”
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