Manchester United legend Jaap Stam has admitted that David Beckham attempted to stop the Red Devils from selling him to Lazio.
The 50-year-old Dutchman established himself as a powerhouse force in United's backline during the late 1990s and featured in the Red Devils' treble-winning side.
But Stam, who spent three seasons at Old Trafford, saw his time cut short at United after The Daily Mirror published controversial passages from his autobiography.
The former PSV Eindhoven star revealed that his departure was a big blow to his teammates, which included fellow United legend Beckham.
"Just after I arrived in Rome, I got a call from David Beckham," he told FourFourTwo.
"The United squad had spoken about it, and he expressed the general feeling among them that I should stay.
"My departure was a big blow to everyone, as nobody expected it to happen. It was nice to hear that from him, and it showed how close we were as a group.
"That made it tough to leave, but given the situation at the time, I felt it was better for me to go."
Stam hit out at how the media portrayed extracts from his book and opened up about the troubles it caused for him.
"When a paper buys the rights to publish extracts from a book, they can make up their own headlines -- and that was what troubled me," he said.
"I asked them [The Mirror] to let me know in advance, but they didn't do that.
"It kept me awake at night, as I was wondering what would be in the paper the following day. Initially, Ferguson had told me not to worry about it, but on Wednesday -- the morning of the match -- I was informed that I should report for talks with him the next day, because he wasn't happy about some of it.
"After the game, I went home and reported the next morning at 8am, because I was keen to resolve the matter. I said, 'You know what's in the book -- nothing bad.' But he maintained that he wasn't happy.
"A week later, I was left out for a game against Blackburn. On the day, he called me to say I wasn't in his squad because of the book hassle. He felt it might calm down if I wasn't playing. We had a few conversations, although none of them were really satisfactory.
"A bit later that week, I was driving home from training when my agent phoned, telling me I'd been sold. I was like, 'What?!' He said, 'Yeah, they'll contact you in a minute.'
"Moments later, Ferguson called me and asked where I was. We lived in the same area, and he told me to wait for him so that we could have a chat. I pulled into a petrol station and he met me there. When he arrived, he got in my car and told me that the club had accepted an offer from Lazio. It was a big shock."
Stam was sold to Lazio in 2001 for a fee worth around £16m.
The United legend would play for AC Milan and Ajax before he announced his retirement from football in 2007.
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