Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has “no regrets” over the sale of David Beckham as he prepares to face his former star in opposition.
Beckham was near the height of his powers when he was sold by United to Real Madrid in 2003 but Ferguson feels the matter has long since been consigned to history.
The pair will be reunited this month when the Red Devils take on the midfielder’s current club, AC Milan, in the Champions League.
Ferguson is now more concerned about how his players will handle the inevitable attention that will accompany Beckham during the last-16 tie than wondering about what might have been.
When asked about the player’s £25m move from Old Trafford, Ferguson told the club’s official magazine ’Inside United’: “No regrets. We move on.”
He added: “The only difference with David’s return to Manchester United compared with other players is that there will be a big media circus surrounding him when Milan arrive.
“He’s such a high-profile celebrity – not just a high-profile footballer – and we haven’t really seen anybody else return to the club in that situation.
“Our job is to concentrate on the football match and let the David Beckham media circus carry on – we know we’re not going to stop it anyway.”
Beckham left United after a well-publicised rift with Ferguson but they have long since patched up their differences.
Former England captain Beckham, 34, is now on loan at Milan having been given permission by parent club Los Angeles Galaxy to sharpen his game in Europe ahead of the World Cup.
Ferguson is not surprised to see Beckham back at the San Siro for a second spell and added: “I think I told him myself last year when I saw him before our game against Inter that he should be thinking about getting back to Europe if he wanted to go to the World Cup.
“And it looks like he might just get his wish now. He had a good spell with Milan last time, so it made sense to me to see him back there again.”
United travel to Milan on February 16 before hosting the Italians in the second leg three weeks later.
Ferguson sees the tie as United’s biggest fixture of the season so far and said: “I think so, yes.
“The European Cup is always special to us and we’ve had some marvellous nights at Old Trafford. I just hope we have another one.
“We’re away from home in the first leg, which won’t be easy, but I’m certain the tie will be decided back at Old Trafford.”