As always with Ferguson, his version of events differs from that of the player he is in the process of ostracising. Van Nistelrooy’s advisers say they are bewildered by Ferguson’s rather vague comments about a “couple of incidents in training” damaging team spirit. Van Nistelrooy has had some practice-ground altercations since arriving in England, most notably with David Bellion and, this season, Cristiano Ronaldo, but his representatives point out that these are the exception rather than the norm. There have been rumours of further arguments with Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher but these have not been substantiated and, besides, Ferguson has spoken in the past of wanting players who “care enough to lose their temper”.
Ferguson, as the Guardian reminds us, has a history of fighting with his stars:
Paul Ince Despite being a key midfielder, Ince’s self-promotion as “The Guv’nor” did not go down well. Ferguson, who later labelled the England midfielder a “big-time Charlie”, sold him in 1995 to Internazionale for £7m.
David Beckham The flashpoint came in February 2003 when, after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, Ferguson kicked a boot into Beckham’s face. He refused to apologise.
Jaap Stam Left in 2001. It was thought comments in his autobiography, criticising players, were to blame. He was sold to Lazio for £16.5m.
Now it’s Van Nistelrooy to the highest bidder – at £10 million and change. I must say this though – if this incident was true, he should be fired.